The NFL draft came and went in late April, and there were conspicuously zero Syracuse players taken throughout the three-day process. That fact stirred up some question marks here on the Fizz, but it appears SU football isn’t going to completely whiff on NFL representation. Former offensive lineman Aaron Servais and defensive tackle McKinley Williams both received training camp invites, and one former Orange player recently signed a deal with a pro team: defensive lineman Josh Black.
The New Orleans Saints signed Black to their squad two days ago, and presents the Loves Park, Illinois native with an intriguing opportunity. One of the Saints’ primary objectives this offseason has been to keep a defense together that ranked 4th in the NFL in points allowed in 2021. Entering the offseason, New Orleans’ interior defensive line was rated as one of its more pressing team needs, and depth has been lost by way of free agents such as Jalyn Holmes signing elsewhere.
Black played both defensive tackle and defensive end at Syracuse, and offers versatility at both spots. Black seemed like he stuck around forever at SU and played six consistent seasons, capping his career last year with an All-ACC Honorable Mention in ‘21. Comfort at multiple positions, hefty collegiate experience, and noted enthusiasm – for wings, professional wrestling, and football alike – make Black a candidate to be a possible fan favorite if he parlays his chance into a spot with the Saints.
“On film, I feel my effort will stick out. From a young age, I was always taught “your effort will never betray you.” (Josh Black to NFLDraftDiamonds.com, 7/1/2020)
From a scouting perspective, ProFootballNetwork.com’s assessment of Black paints a smaller-sized but active defender.
“Undersized…fires off the snap with an explosive first step, plays with terrific pad level, and gets leverage on opponents. Stays on his feet, displays good change-of-direction skills, and gives effort…average pass rusher.” (ProFootballNetwork.com, 3/29/22)
Black’s opportunity with the Saints is no guarantee of success, but his undrafted status doesn’t automatically preclude professional aspirations. With a solid toolset and in an organization seeking defensive line help, Black has ample chance to make an impact.