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Notre Dame Football

Peeking Ahead to the 2023 NFL Draft for Notre Dame

May 1, 2022
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It was a disappointing weekend for every potential NFL Draft pick from Notre Dame not named Kyle Hamilton or Kyren Williams. They were the only two who went off the board for the Irish with others like Jack Coan, Kevin Austin, and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa going undrafted.

It’s not necessarily the end of the line for those who signed as free agents, there have been plenty of UDFAs from Notre Dame who have made rosters in recent years, but the results of Draft are an indication of the lack of elite talent on last year’s team. It would be fair to say the group overachieved to go 11-2.

A major reason why the program dipped from eight picks to two in one year had to do with the 2018 recruiting class. The first full class for Brian Kelly after the infamous reboot has not delivered on the field.

Out of the 27 signees from that cycle, the only player who has been taken by an NFL team so far is Tommy Tremble. Out of the nine who are still on the team, Jarrett Patterson is the one coming into this season who has been a multi-year starter. (Jayson Ademilola and Braden Lenzy are likely to make it three when the season starts)

Barring anything unforeseen, Patterson will be drafted in 2023. The kind of season Ademilola has will largely determine if he’s a lock to join him, but if he builds on last year, it’s very likely he’ll have his name called. Other ‘18 class members like Lenzy, Justin Ademilola, Joe Wilkins, and TaRiq Bracy will need to make massive leaps in production if they want to join those two.

It’s fairly clear that the top draft-eligible prospects on Notre Dame’s roster this year are from their 2019 and 2020 classes. It all starts with Michael Mayer, who we can pretty much pencil into the first round. Isaiah Foskey might be another first rounder if his arrow continues to point up.

After that, it’s less obvious who could be taken and possibly decide to leave with eligibility left.

Cam Hart had a nice first season as a starter. Is he ready to emerge as a top prospect in ‘22? He was limited this spring so we won’t have a better idea of that until the fall. He also has as many as two more years to still play if he wants them.

Brandon Joseph comes in as a transfer with plenty of production in coverage. A great season in blue and gold might persuade him to declare early, but he also has multiple years of eligibility left after this one.

Could last year’s projected breakout star at linebacker be a one-year wonder as a starter? It may be on the table for Marist Liufau. At the moment, it’s way too early to speculate he’ll be ready to leave after only one season as a full-time starter or if he’ll put everything together to put himself on the map for NFL scouts.

There’s a monster like Rylie Mills who has NFL talent and is set to be a starter for the first time, but he’s another one who will have the option to stick around for more years.

The next NFL Draft isn’t set up to be a big one for Notre Dame in terms of number of selections unless there are some like Hart, Joseph, Liufau, and Mills who all have the type of seasons that would influence them to leave. Over the last seven NFL Drafts there have been an average of five Notre Dame players selected. The over/under should probably be set around there in ‘23.

That could end up being on the low end for Notre Dame in the years to come, though. 2024 should see the number move up and if the Irish keep recruiting like they have under Marcus Freeman, averaging closer to double digit draft picks every year has a chance to be the norm.

 
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