Notre Dame Football Defensive End Ade Ogundeji Pops Up With Highest 2021 NFL Draft Projection Yet In Recent CBS Mock
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Ade Ogundeji Pops Up With Highest Draft Projection Yet In Recent CBS Mock

Read just a few mocks and position rankings, and it becomes clear most analysts view linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg as Notre Dame’s top two prospects in April’s draft.

There was, though, bound to be an exception.

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso provided one in his recent seven-round mock draft. Defensive end Ade Ogundeji slid in as the No. 36 overall pick to the Miami Dolphins — ahead of Eichenberg among the eight Notre Dame players who appeared in the mock and behind only Owusu-Koramoah (No. 29 overall).

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish football defensive end Ade Ogundeji
In his latest mock draft, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso projected Ogundeji to go in the second round (No. 36 overall) to the Miami Dolphins. (AP)

Ogundeji was the seventh defensive lineman off the board, and Trapasso ranks him as the sixth-best at the position and No. 74 player in the draft.

“Ogundeji is a long, smooth athlete who knows how to use his hands,” Trapasso wrote. “He'll be an instant producer in [Dolphins head coach] Brian Flores' scheme.”

Eichenberg, meanwhile, was the No. 66 pick and went to the New York Jets.

“Eichenberg is a good athlete for the offensive tackle spot, he just needs to get strong to solidify his anchor,” Trapasso wrote.

Eichenberg’s landing spot in Trapasso’s mock goes against the apparent consensus as much as Ogundeji’s. He was the 15th offensive lineman taken and Trapasso’s No. 144-ranked player. He appears in the top 10 of most offensive tackle rankings, including Renner’s (10th), ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s (seventh) and The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s (fifth). Renner’s March 22 three-round mock had Eichenberg as the No. 54 pick to the Indianapolis Colts.

“He’s just so steady,” Renner recently told BlueandGold.com. “You watch a lot of college offensive tackle prospects and you write in your notes, ‘Raw technically, hands need work, pass sets need work.’ That’s not the case with Eichenberg. He’s going to come into the NFL and day one you can plug him in a tackle and guard, wherever you want, and be confident you have a guy who can step on the field and perform.

“You’re not drafting him because of his ceiling or what he could be with his athletic traits, but you’re drafting him because he’s already a really good football player, already a good run blocker, solid and steady in pass protection. He doesn’t look like the elite left tackles in the NFL, which is why he’s not going to go where Mike McGlinchey went — definitely a more physically imposing offensive tackle. But you can get a similarly steady player once you can get to the NFL.”

Renner also mocked Owusu-Koramoah to the Denver Broncos at No. 15 overall and tight end Tommy Tremble to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 102.

Trapasso’s full mock included five other former Irish players: Tremble (third round, No. 94 overall, Kansas City Chiefs), guard Aaron Banks (third round, No. 99, Dallas Cowboys), offensive lineman Robert Hainsey (fifth round, No. 166, Colts), defensive end Daelin Hayes (fifth round, No. 172, Minnesota Vikings) and receiver Ben Skowronek (fifth round, No. 184, Baltimore Ravens). Quarterback Ian Book was not among those selected.

The consensus of Owusu-Koramoah as Notre Dame’s first player drafted this spring, though, has few detectable exceptions. His average draft spot in five recent mocks (including Trapasso’s more recent one) was 20.6. Renner’s projection was the highest of the five.

“He’s a different level of athlete than pretty much anyone at the linebacker position,” Renner said. “He’s that new breed of linebacker. He’s listed at only 215 pounds, but he plays way stronger than that. Has no problem playing in the box. The role he played at Notre Dame doesn’t really exist in the NFL. It’s closer to slot corner than it is linebacker. But when he did play between the tackles and did take on blocks, you didn’t see much of an issue.

“You’re not drafting linebackers high in the NFL to stuff the run. The Manti Te’o’s of the world are dead and gone at the NFL level. It’s the Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoahs, the sub-230 pounders that are what you need. In the last two years in the first round, there hasn’t been a linebacker drafted that has run slower than a 4.54 (40-yard dash). Speed at that position is coveted.

“Owusu-Koramoah obviously has that. I think teams are going to fall in love with what he is going to do in coverage, he’s versatile, can matchup with these modern NFL offenses, can guard a slot receiver, tight end, running back, whatever you want. Maybe he’s never going to be Luke Kuechly against the run, but he can make some splash plays.”

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