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Notre Dame Football

5 Questions Before the NFL Draft

April 28, 2021
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The NFL Draft kicks off again this Thursday night and it should be the start of a busy few days for former Notre Dame players. This could be a draft where more end up being selected than any in the previous decade.

We know who the first domino will be. We just don’t know how it will all play after he gets taken off the board.

Where will JOK go?

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a virtual lock to go in the first round. Where he ends up is anyone’s guess, though. He’s been mocked anywhere from the top-15 to being one of the later picks in the round.

His versatility has always been his greatest strength, but it also makes him difficult to project for certain teams. The fit is going to matter just as much as the talent he is bringing to the table.

I’ve seen him mocked quite a bit to the Las Vegas Raiders at 17 overall, but a lot of where JOK ends up could depend on if Micah Parson slides down the board. He’s considered the consensus top linebacker in the draft. The higher he goes, the better it will be for JOK.

Notre Dame fans know that whoever takes him will get a playmaker and if he happens to fall to the end of the first round, it may end up being a better situation for him with a winning program.

How many are selected on day one or day two?

JOK might not be the only one taken in the first round. Liam Eichenberg could find his way there depending on if some higher rated tackles go early and if he ends up checking out for teams from a medical perspective. He’s someone who constantly battled through injuries during his time in South Bend.

Aside from those two, there isn’t another that would be a sure-thing to get a call from a team before Saturday.

Aaron Banks appears to be a polarizing prospect who could end up being a third round pick and Tommy Tremble’s unique talents are what have him ranked as one of the top tight ends in the draft class.

It would probably be more surprising if four went in the first three rounds than two from Notre Dame, but we’ll see what happens on Friday.

Can this class tie the record for most selected since 1994?

It’s a definite possibility. The Irish had 10 selected in that draft, the first time it was reduced to seven rounds. They haven’t matched that number in a single year since then. The record for draft picks that played for Kelly was eight in the 2014 draft.

Tying that number is a safe bet with Robert Hainsey, Ian Book, Ade Ogundeji, and Daelin Hayes all projected to join the other four previously mentioned as selections. The question will be if they can make it 10 with Tommy Kraemer and Nick McCloud as the next two. A recent seven round mock draft on NFL.com had both taken (Kraemer in the sixth and McCloud in the seventh).

It would be a really nice story if it does happen.

Will anyone go higher than projected?

Tremble seems like the obvious choice here. There’s just no other tight end like him in the draft.

I would watch out for Ogundeji and Hayes going higher than expected as well. Some of it is that they have the kind of raw tools that teams will like. The bigger part is that it’s not a year with several elite edge rushers. It’s a valuable position and teams may go reach for need.

Will anyone go lower than projected?

Eichenberg could end up in the first round or he could end up going later on day two. Where he’s been projected has been a bit all over the map.

Hainsey is probably a better offensive lineman than a bunch of players who will be taken ahead of him and I wouldn’t be surprised if teams were more enamored with physical traits rather than everything Hainsey is bringing to the table. So a slide wouldn’t be shocking. He just may make some teams regret it.

Book will be the most interesting to watch because it would be a surprise if he went undrafted, but how his ceiling is viewed may dictate where he gets taken.

As Kelly mentioned last week, teams appear to think he can be a number two quarterback for them. There may be a few teams who think he can develop into a starter one day. If those teams are filling other needs and aren’t looking for a number two this season, where would that leave Book?

It may mean that he gets selected late in day three and if that’s the case, he can add another chip to his shoulder to motivate him at the next level.

 
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