The NFL draft took place not too long ago, and for a handful of former Irish footballers, they heard their name called. Here is a list of the Notre Dame Players Selected in the NFL Draft:
1st Round – 28th – DT Jerry Tillery LA Chargers
3rd Round 93rd - WR Miles Boykin Baltimore
4th - 108th - CB Julian Love NY Giants
4th - 130th - LB Drue Tranquill LA Chargers
6th - 194th - RB Dexter Williams Green Bay
7th - 231st - TE Alize Mack New Orleans
In addition to those drafted, five more signed free agent deals, or got invited to rookie camp. Here is the list of Undrafted FA Signings:
P Tyler Newsome LA Chargers
OL Sam Mustipher
OL Alex Bars Chicago Bears
LB Te'Von Coney Oakland Raiders
DB Nick Coleman Oakland Raiders
Now that the dust has settled, let’s answer a few questions:
First, who might be considered to have landed in a best fit?
Off the cuff, Tillery has to be elated to line up inside on a defense that has Joey Bosa on the outside. With speed on both edges in LA, Tillery should have opportunities one on one to make plays. Ultimately, and I may be going out on a limb here, I like Williams to Green Bay. With a new head coach, former Irish QB coach Matt LaFluer, look for Williams’ speed and explosiveness to be used as a runner and pass catcher. Should be interesting.
Next, biggest surprise from this crop of Irish draftees?
Two surprises here. Probably most talked about within Irish fandom was Coney going undrafted, but for me it was how far Love fell. I’ve loved his pedigree since I saw him in high school, and think the Giants have to be elated they were able to snag him when they did.
Who provides their respective team with the best value?
I’ve got Love dialed in here. He will make an immediate impact on special teams, and should play himself into a versatile role either as the nickel or outside at corner.
Who has the most to prove with their selection?
Tough one here, especially with only one player going in the first round and for that I’ll select Tillery simply because their is more pressure (or perceived pressure) to deliver results as a first round pick.
How about this one? Who will have the best NFL Career?
Once again, Love get’s my vote. Don’t let me down!
A quick look ahead to next year’s draft. Notre Dame players Tommy Kraemer, Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara, and Liam Eichenberg are all showing up in 1st round mock drafts for next year. Which of those four do I give the best shot to go in the first round?
I’ll take Eichenberg, which will continue Brian Kelly’s hot streak of 1st round left offensive tackles. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kraemer in the first round, too, and if Okwara continues his production his name may come late first round or early second.
With Eichenberg and Kraemer getting primo billing, let’s jump to the other side of the ball. Here is the list of draft eligible defensive players for next year’s draft...
Seniors: Okwara, Kareem, Daelin Hayes, Asmar Bilal, Troy Pride, Jalen Elliott, Shaun Crawford
Early entry: Alohi Gilman
If Gilman declares, here is the order I predict they will go:
Okwara, Gilman, Hayes, Kareem, Pride, Crawford, Elliott, Bilal
Notre Dame is top five in both all-time NFL draft picks, and all-time number of 1st round picks. It’s likely they will add to that number next year. Stay tuned.