After going undrafted in the NFL draft, former Syracuse punter Nolan Cooney signed with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday evening. Defensive back Trill Williams — who also went undrafted — signed with New Orleans earlier Saturday, and Andre Cisco and Ifeatu Melifonwu were both taken in the third round on Friday night. Cooney had previously been spotted working with the Saints’ special teams coordinator at SU’s Pro Day in March.
In his first year as the Orange’s punter in 2020, Cooney earned honorable mention All-American and third team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. In 11 games in Syracuse’s 1-10 season, Cooney punted 74 times for a nearly 45-yard average. His 3,314 total yards were No. 1 in the ACC. Twenty-five of his punts went for over 50 yards, and 24 were downed inside the 20-yard line. Cooney previously appeared in 2018 and 2019 as a holder for extra points and field goal attempts.
Cooney overcame testicular cancer in high school and was the recipient of Syracuse’s Jim DaRin Courage Award in 2019. During his treatment, cyclist Lance Armstrong and former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi visited Cooney. Over three years at East Greenwich (R.I.) High School, Cooney played soccer, baseball and basketball.
Cooney is Syracuse’s third straight punter to sign with an NFL team after graduation, joining Riley Dixon, who was drafted in 2016 by the Denver Broncos, and Sterling Hofrichter, who was taken in the seventh round last year by the Atlanta Falcons.
The next Orange specialist in the league is also headed to Louisiana!
Congrats @NolanCooney1 on signing with the Saints pic.twitter.com/fV876bcHjE
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) May 1, 2021
Nolan Cooney, P, Syracuse
• 84.8 Punting grade in 2020 (5th best in the country)
• 4.16-second average hangtime in 2020 (T-11th in the country)
• Cooney's 74 punts in 2020 were 15 more than the next closest FBS Punter
Yes, we do grade Punters too.#WhoDat #Saints pic.twitter.com/IufYI0kwgg
— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) May 2, 2021
Kyle leads sports coverage and hosts the Concrete Jungle podcast. Have a lead or question? Send it to [email protected].