May 13, 2014

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame had eight former players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft this past weekend.

The Wall Street Journal did an interesting report card yesterday following the draft. It listed the schools who put the most talent in this year’s NFL Draft, based on how high their players were chosen (256 points for the top pick and one points for the last selection).

Team           Picks (Pts)    Final Rank    Top SelectionLSU            9 (1,268)      14th          WR Odell Beckham (12th New York Giants)Notre Dame     8 (1,255)      20th          OT Zack Martin (16th Dallas Cowboys)Florida State  7 (1,251)      1st           WR Kelvin Benjamin (28th Carolina Panthers)Alabama        8 (1,183)      7th           LB C.J. Mosley (17th Baltimore Ravens)Ohio State     6 (978)        12th          LB Ryan Shazier (15th Pittsburgh Steelers)Louisville     4 (879)        15th          S Calvin Pryor (18th New York Jets)UCLA           5 (828)        16th          LB Anthony Barr (9th Minnesota Vikings)Clemson        5 (748)        8th           WR Sammy Watkins (4th Buffalo Bills)Texas A&M      3 (736)        18th          OT Jake Matthews (6th Atlanta Falcons)North Carolina 5 (727)        --            TE Eric Ebron (10th Detroit Lions)
  • Here’s the list of eight former Notre Dame players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Player            Pos.  Team                 Round (Overall)Zack Martin       OT    Dallas Cowboys       1st (16)Stephon Tuitt     DL    Pittsburgh Steelers  2nd (46)Troy Niklas       TE    Arizona Cardinals    2nd (52)Louis Nix III     DL    Houston Texans       3rd (83)Chris Watt        OG    San Diego Chargers   3rd (89)Prince Shembo     LB    Atlanta Falcons      4th (139)Bennett Jackson   CB    New York Giants      6th (187)TJ Jones          WR    Detroit Lions        6th (189)
  • With Texas failing to have a player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, Notre Dame now has the longest streak of at least one player drafted at 77 straight years (including the NFL supplemental draft).
  • Since the NFL draft began in 1936, 485 Notre Dame football players have been selected. That total is the second most of any school in the nation. Only USC has had more players drafted in the NFL (487).
  • Sixty-four Notre Dame players have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Only USC (75) and Ohio State (71) have had more.
  • No school has been more consistent in terms of supplying players to the NFL. Notre Dame has had a player selected in 77 of the 79 regular NFL Drafts (only misses were in 1937 and 1977). Oklahoma has also had a player chosen in 77 of 79 regular NFL Drafts.
  • Notre Dame had eight players chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Irish have not had a larger haul in the draft since 1994 when Notre Dame had 10 players selected.
  • Notre Dame’s eight drafted players was tied for the second most of any school in the nation. LSU led the country with nine selections, while the Irish were tied with Alabama.
  • Notre Dame has now had eight starters drafted from its 2012 defense that led the Irish to the BCS National Championship game.
  • Notre Dame has had at least six players drafted in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-03.
  • Notre Dame had five players chosen in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. It’s the most since the Irish had a school-record seven players selected in the top three rounds of the 1994 draft.
  • Since 1992, Troy Niklas was the seventh Notre Dame tight end to be chosen in the top-two rounds of the NFL Draft. No other school in the nation has had more than four over that span.
  • Notre Dame had three players chosen in the second round of the NFL Draft for the first time since 1990 when the Irish had four selected.
  • The Dallas Cowboys chose Zack Martin with the 16th pick of NFL Draft. Martin’s selection gave Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly four first-round picks in the last three years of the draft. The Irish had a total of four first-round picks in the previous 17 NFL Drafts.
  • Zack Martin is the first Notre Dame offensive lineman selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Jeff Faine in 2003. Martin is the highest drafted Irish offensive lineman since Andy Heck went No. 15 in the 1989 draft.
  • Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand saw four of his pupils chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft. Zack Martin and Chris Watt of Notre Dame were chosen in the first and third round, respectively, while Tennessee offensive linemen Ja’Wuan James and Zach Fulton went in the first and sixth rounds.
  • Sixth-round pick Bennett Jackson and second-round selection Troy Niklas continue a trend that has followed Irish head coach Brian Kelly at his previous coaching stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Jackson and Niklas joined the Notre Dame program as a wide receiver and linebacker, respectively. Jackson played one season (2010) as a wideout before Kelly and the Irish staff felt his future was at cornerback. Niklas played in 12 games as a reserve in 2011. He totaled 20 tackles, including eight solo stops. Thus, Jackson and Niklas join the likes of Joe Staley from Central Michigan, as well as Jason Kelce and Connor Barwin from Cincinnati. All five opened their respective careers under Kelly at one position before ultimately getting drafted into the NFL at another position. Staley was a first-round choice in 2007, while Barwin (2009) and Niklas (2014) were second-round picks and Kelce (2011) and Jackson (2014) were sixth-round selections.
  • Notre Dame has had a first-round pick in three straight NFL drafts. The Irish had not accomplished the feat since 1991-94.
  • Notre Dame also had five former players sign free-agent contracts with NFL clubs immediately after the draft. That group included George Atkinson III (Oakland Raiders), Carlo Calabrese (Cleveland Browns), Dan Fox (New York Giants), Tommy Rees (Washington Redskins) and Kona Schwenke (Kansas City Chiefs).

— ND —