Sizing up Notre Dame NFL Draft Prospects

Sizing up Notre Dame NFL Draft Prospects
too cold for ND cheerleaders?

The talk of Notre Dame NFL draft picks (potentially) starts with Manti Te’o. And last night on NFL Network, a panel of their “experts” mocked Te’o to the Chicago Bears at #20. FACEPALM.

Good Lord, please don’t.

Can “Touchdown Jesus” intervene here and prevent the dumbest jock this side of Ryan Lochte from coming to Chicago? Actually, it was NFL Network analyst Melissa Stark who made the Te’o pick, and I’ll try to keep our discussion of Manti Te’o as limited as possible for this evening. I am more sick of Te’o talk than I am Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin COMBINED. And that’s really saying something.

Because every time I hear the name Manti Te'o I channel Jay Cutler: DONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN'T CARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NFL Network’s leading draft expert Mike Mayock moderated the panel, and in his one and only mock draft he mocked Te'o to Chicago.

I swear to God, I will "c*** punt" (CC Rebecca Martinson) the next person who mock drafts Te'o to Chicago

If the Bears do actually pick Manti tonight, then again credit Becca Martinson: "just go ahead and punch yourself in the f***ing face so that I don't have to find you, and do it for you."

Mayock predictably went Eric Fisher of Central Michigan #1 to Kansas City. Because Mayock gets as excited about Eric Fisher as I get over Kate Upton.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated posted his final mock NFL draft: with Tyler Eifert going 20th to the Chicago Bears and Te’o going 23rd to the Minnesota Vikings. If that happens, Eifert will become the first Notre Dame tight end selected in the first round since Irv Smith in 1993 (20th overall selection to New Orleans).

If Te’o goes in the first round, he will become only the second Notre Dame linebacker selected in the first round—joining Bob Crable in 1982 (23rd pick to the New York Jets). If both Te’o and Eifert end up being first-round selections it would match last year’s two Notre Dame draft picks Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith.

We have not seen multiple Notre Dame NFL Draft picks in the first round in consecutive years since 1993 (Rick Mirer, Jerome Bettis, Irv Smith, Tom Carter) and 1994 (Bryant Young, Aaron Taylor, Jeff Burris). The only other times that has happened with Notre Dame NFL Draft picks was 1944-46 and 1954-55.

Mike Mayock knows Notre Dame well from his work as an NBC analyst on Irish football games. Mayock’s list of top 100 prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft has Eifert 13th and Te’o 23rd. I was on conference call (along with like 3,000 other media members) for Mike Mayock last week where he discussed Eifert being the best TE in the class by far. However, Eifert didn’t make it to the first round of the NFL Network group mock draft last night. Michael Irvin slotted Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia #2 overall Jacksonville; exactly like I have in my mock draft.

Mayock thought this move took major cajones; I find it quite reasonable. Signal callers are drafted way too high every April; see Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. And check out this Geno Smith tweet today in response to his critics.


College football wise, there isn't much local interest in the first two rounds. Every April sees a “March” of Illini to the NFL, despite how Illinois plays on the field. We’ve had four Illini go in the first two rounds these past two years despite the team going only 14-12 in that span. In the past five years, Illinois leads the Big Ten in top NFL first round picks with five. Ohio State has the most overall draft picks in the nation since 2000; with 82.

Illinois won't make round one this year though, regime change from Ron Zook to Tim Beckman devalued the draft stock of all Illini. I know it sounds funny, becoming worse when you distance yourself from Zook, but it did happen. Illini DE Michael Buchanan was a fringe first-round talent once upon a time, but now you won’t see him until round 3 at the earliest. Fellow Illini defender Terry Hawthorne should be a late round pick. And I know it sounds weird saying this, since the Illini OL was the most atrocious unit of a really horrible football team, but expect to see two Illinois blockers, Hugh Thornton and Graham Pocic, graduate to the NFL this weekend as well.

As for Northwestern and NIU, their prospects will be taken in the later rounds.

Again, here’s my first round mock in detail with player descriptions; and my website’s complete 7 round NFL mock draft night without player descriptions. And since it’s never too early, here’s my 2014 NFL mock draft. I know, I am a huge nerd.

By the way, we may actually have an openly gay NFL player by the time Draft weekend is over. It could happen.

Happy NFL Draft day everyone!!!!

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an author and regular contributor to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, and Walter Football.

Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

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