Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley goes into his third year as a starter as the most proven player the Orange have on the defensive line.
Yet Bromley feels he has not proven enough.
Last season, Bromley says he never was fully 100 percent. An ankle injury forced him to miss all of fall camp. Then midway through the season, he hurt his other ankle and knee. Bromley played through the injuries and appeared in every game, notching 39 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.
But he knows he can do so much more.
That is why Bromley is extra motivated going into this season. Now fully healthy, Bromley wants to show the players in his new league what he can do, while also making a bigger name for himself.
"I’ve always been under the radar," Bromley said. "I never had a scholarship offer, so when I don’t have things it’s nothing to me. I never had it. So it’s like when I do pop up and you see me, you’re going to know who I am. I know my teammates respect me. I know I’m going to work hard to make sure the rest of the world respects me."
Bromley said he made it through last season thanks to his mental toughness, and knowing his team needed him. When the season ended, he submitted his name to the NFL draft advisory board but did not get the answers he wanted.
So he re-dedicated himself this offseason.
"Do I feel like I can play at the next level? Yes, I feel like I could play at the next level if I had left last year," Bromley said. "But I need to be better to better prepare myself so I can put me, myself, my family in a better position for me to do that."
What did he specifically work on to get better?
"Everything," Bromley said. "Nothing is shiny enough for me not to polish it, my hands, my footwork, my pad level, getting off blocks -- everything needs to be improved for me to make a big enough impression for me to be as high as I want to be."
That, of course, is the first round.
"If you think any lower, then why are you thinking?" he said. "When the cards fall where they may, if you drop any lower but shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’re still among some stars."