It was a big weekend for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as some of their players were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Seven Irishmen heard their names called this weekend. Some got drafted earlier than expected while others had to wait an extra day or two before getting drafted. Regardless, Notre Dame made its presence felt early in the draft.
The first Irishman taken off the board was offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley who was drafted sixth overall by the Baltimore Ravens. Also, wide receiver Will Fuller did not have to wait long either. He was drafted 21st overall by the Houston Texans.
While Stanley and Fuller were taken early, neither one was the most intriguing Notre Dame draft prospect. That title belonged to Jaylon Smith.
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Smith was projected as a top five talent in this year’s draft until a knee injury in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl changed everything for him. He torn his ACL and MCL ligaments and suffered some nerve damage in his knee too. NFL doctors believe his knee will not fully heal until 2017.
As a result, no team selected him in the first round. However, he did not have to wait very long in the second round because the Dallas Cowboys selected him with the 34th pick overall.
Here are the full details on the where and when all the Notre Dame players were selected.
- Round 1, Pick 6: OT Ronnie Stanley to the Baltimore Ravens
- Round 1, Pick 21: WR Will Fuller to the Houston Texans
- Round 2, Pick 34: LB Jaylon Smith to the Dallas Cowboys
- Round 2, Pick 50: C Nick Martin to the Houston Texans
- Round 3, Pick 74: CB KeiVarae Russell to the Kansas City Chiefs
- Round 3, Pick 90: RB C.J. Prosise to the Seattle Seahawks
- Round 4, Pick 103: DT Sheldon Day to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Unfortunately, there were Irishmen who were not drafted this weekend. Defensive end Romeo Okwara and receiver Chris Brown are two prospects who went undrafted. Being undrafted is not the end of the world. There are still ways to have a successful NFL career despite not getting drafted. These guys can now sign with any team as an free agent.
The 2016 NFL Draft was a great showcase for Notre Dame. Now, these former players need to prove their value on the practice field. It is wonderful to finally make it into the NFL, but teams care about production and will cut young prospects if they struggle early. Hopefully, all these Irishmen take advantage of their opportunities.