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2018 NFL Draft Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

A look at the prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft from Notre Dame.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame finished 10-3 in 2015, but Head Coach Brian Kelly inexplicably opened up the quarterback position for a spring/summer competition between incumbent starter DeShone Kizer, and Malik Zaire, who was returning from a season-ending injury. The Irish then saw six players arrested just two weeks before the 2016 opener against Texas. Kelly’s team never seemed settled. At Texas, the quarterbacks shared time, but the Irish were not able to overcome their own porous defense despite a furious comeback effort from Kizer. It was a sign of things to come. Defensive struggles, offensive inconsistencies, and Kelly’s propensity to deflect blame plagued the Irish all season and resulted in a disastrous 4-8 season. Kelly needs a major rebound to keep his job beyond 2017. Luckily, his team returns some strong, NFL-ready talent. Here’s a look at Notre Dame’s top 2018 NFL Draft-eligible players…

KEY

⭐️= potential elite prospect (size/athleticism/production)
↑= potential riser
↓= potential faller/overrated
$ = major positive
⚠️= caution
+ = injury risk
# = off-field
PB = SPARQ power ball toss score (high school)
VJ = Vertical Jump (high school)
40 = 40 (high school)
SS = short shuttle (high school)

Hunter Bivin G 6'6" 318 rSR

  • DOB: 9/6/94⚠️
  • 4-star recruit in 2013

Career: 1 start at right guard⚠️

Tevon Coney LB 6'1" 235 JR #

  • DOB: 6/10/97
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • Arrested last August and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana⚠️
  • VJ: 29"

Career: 24 games 39 solo TKL 2 TFL
2016: 61 TKL (33 solo) 1.5 TFL 1 QBH

Alize Mack TE 6'5" 245 JR #↑

  • DOB: 3/29/97
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • Formerly went by the name Alize Jones
  • Sat out the 2016 season due to academic ineligibility⚠️
  • PB: 32.0
  • VJ: 33.7"
  • 40: 4.75
  • SS: 4.06 $

Career: 13 games 13 REC 190 YDS 14.6 AVG

2016: NA

Note: After sitting out an entire season, Mack put together an impressive spring for the Irish. He has added 25 pounds of good weight since his high school days, and boasts an impressive athletic profile for a tight end prospect. The only thing missing to this point is on-field production, but a re-dedicated Mack should figure heavily in the passing attack this fall.

Mike McGlinchey OT 6'8" 312 rSR

  • DOB: 1/12/95
  • 4-star recruit in 2013

Career: 26 starts (14 at right tackle, 12 at left tackle) 1 kick BLK

Note: I was surprised McGlinchey returned for a fifth year considering he will turn 23 years old immediately following the season, but the big lineman has expressed dedication to helping turn Notre Dame back in a positive direction. McGlinchey will leave school with three years as a starter under his belt, and his experience at left and right tackle will appeal to pro scouts.

Nyles Morgan LB 6'1" 238 SR

  • DOB: 08/16/1996
  • 4-star recruit in 2014
  • PB: 36.0
  • VJ: 30.0
  • 40: 4.79
  • SS: 4.44

Career: 37 games 81 solo TKL 9.5 TFL 4.5 SCK 1 FF 4 PBU
2016: 90 TKL (49 solo) 6 TFL 4 SCK 3 PBU

Quenton Nelson G 6'5" 329 rJR ↑

  • DOB: 3/19/96
  • 5-star recruit in 2014
  • PB: 42.5
  • VJ: 23.6"
  • 40: 5.60⚠️
  • SS: 4.81

Career: 23 starts at left guard

Note: Nelson is a massive road grader who will leave school with three (or four) years of starting experience. He carries his weight well, plays with strength and a nasty streak, and finishes his blocks. I’m keeping an eye on his feet - I want to make sure he can move quickly enough to pull and locate his target at the pro level, but so far he looks like one of the top interior linemen in college football.

Equanimeous St. Brown WR 6'5" 204 JR +↑

  • DOB: 9/30/96
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • Missed the final four games of the 2015 season with a shoulder injury⚠️
  • Timed at 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the spring of 2016
  • Known as a good student who speaks three languages

Career: 19 games 59 REC 969 YDS 16.4 AVG 9 TD
2016: 58 REC 961 YDS 16.6 AVG 9 TD $

Note: Brown emerged as Notre Dame's best playmaker, posting impressive numbers as a first-time starter, and showing no ill-effects of the shoulder injury that sidelined him in 2015. His combination of size, speed and intelligence indicates a player on the rise.

Durham Smythe TE 6'6" 256 rSR +↓

DOB: 8/9/95

  • 3-star recruit in 2013
  • Missed most of the 2015 season with shoulder and knee surgeries⚠️

Career: 28 games 13 REC 137 YDS 10.5 AVG 5 TD⚠️
2016: 9 REC 112 YDS 12.4 AVG 4 TD

Jerry Tillery DT 6'7" 308 JR #

  • DOB: 10/9/1997
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • Suspended for the Fiesta Bowl as a freshman for violation of team rules, then drew attention last season for two dirty plays against USC⚠️
  • PB: 36.0
  • VJ: 28.0"
  • 40: 5.05
  • SS: 4.69

Career: 24 games 28 solo TKL 5 TFL 1 SCK
2016: 37 TKL (19 solo) 3 TFL 5 QBH

Drue Tranquill S 6'2" 230 rJR +

  • DOB: 8/15/95
  • 3-star recruit in 2014
  • Missed all but three games in 2015 with a torn ACL⚠️

Career: 26 games 75 solo TKL 5.5 TFL 0.5 SCK 2 INT 5 PBU 1 kick BLK
2016: 79 TKL (53 solo) 2 TFL 1 QBH 1 INT 2 PBU

Note: Tranquill is a hybrid player who projects as a linebacker at the pro level.

Andrew Trumbetti DE 6'4" 252 SR

  • DOB: 3/14/96
  • 3-star recruit in 2014

Career: 36 games 35 solo TKL 8.5 TFL 2 SCK 1 INT 1 TD
2016: 25 TKL (9 solo) 0.5 T