Finding Hope After the Draft

With the NFL Draft having closed its doors, others opened for Orange alum, allowing for a new tomorrow.

Syracuse Orange football alum defensive lineman Deon Goggins and Brandon Sharpe, wide receivers Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales, and offensive lineman Zack Chibane waited through the NFL Draft but did not hear their names called.

But once the draft closed its final selection at pick 254, the opportunities began to come in for each. Goggins and Sales will head to Atlanta to join the Falcons, Sharpe is going to the nation's capital to work out with the Washington Redskins, Lemon is going south to the Houston Texans, and Chibane will stay in New York in an attempt to make the Buffalo Bills' roster.

With most of the Bills' coaching staff coming from Syracuse University, the notion of quarterback Ryan Nassib or any of the other Syracuse players being selected did not seem too far out of reach.

But Buffalo steered clear of all Syracuse players in all seven rounds of the draft.

However, they did not turn their back on all the talent that came from the Orange, offering Chibane his current opportunity, which is well-deserving. Chibane blocked for three different 1,000-yard rushers over the past three seasons. Fellow lineman Justin Pugh, who was chosen 19th overall by the New York Giants, has stated that he could not have achieved what he did without Chibane. Together, they helped to move the offensive line into the right direction, one block at a time.

Aided by the protection created by Chibane and Pugh, Sales and Lemon heightened their play in their final season. Sales came into his last collegiate season with a big question mark after being suspended for a year. Who was he? Was he a one-hit-wonder in the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl or did he have the talent to help throughout the season? The latter ended up being truer than the former, with Sales gaining over 100 yards receiving in each of the first three games of Syracuse's 2012 season.

Lemon consistently improved over his time on the Orange. Going from a partial starter to a regular starter, Lemon was utilized more and more in the offense, becoming Nassib's top target.

From grabbing a catch here and there to ending his time at Syracuse with over 200 career receptions, Lemon has defined determination.

He came back from shoulder surgery to gain over 1,000 yards receiving, making him only the third receiver in Orange history to accomplish such a feat.

With the ability to throw as well, Lemon could be involved in some trick plays in the NFL along with getting out into the open field for a reception.

On the defensive side of the ball, Deon Goggins and Brandon Sharpe have shared the "stay focused" mentality. With others getting opportunities in front of them, some would have given up, accepted defeat. Not these linemen. In their final season at Syracuse, Goggins and Sharpe spent the majority of their time on the field.

As the season progressed, Goggins and Sharpe were part of an Orange defense that stunted the run, going three-straight games without allowing a running back to reach 100 yards.

Sharpe added more than five sacks last season, sniffing out the quarterback better than he ever had.

Three names were called from the orange and blue, but more now have an opportunity.

It is not when you are called but rather how you answer.

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