Jaylon Smith Makes NFL Pro Bowl, Former Notre Dame Players Perform In Playoffs
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Irish In The NFL: Jaylon Smith Added To NFC Pro Bowl Roster

Former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster, where he will join fellow Cowboy and former Fighting Irish great Zack Martin, as well as Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith.

This is Jaylon Smith's first-ever Pro Bowl invite after he finished tied for sixth in the NFL with 142 total tackles, along with nine pass breakups, 2.5 sacks and his first-career interception.

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Of course, it wasn't that long ago that Smith's career looked bleak.

In his final Notre Dame game in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, he tore his ACL, LCL and damaged the peroneal nerve in his left knee. He went from being considered a consensus top-5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft to having an uncertain future in professional football.

The Dallas Cowboys ended up taking a chance on him early in the second round with the 34th overall pick. Smith sat out his entire rookie season and even after he returned in 2017, he didn't look the same, suffering from drop foot condition and struggled to move laterally.

Needless to say, Smith persevered through his long journey to recovery and is excited to be added to his first-ever Pro Bowl roster. He is replacing Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Indianapolis Colts left guard Quenton Nelson and Baltimore Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley are on the AFC Pro Bowl roster. Houston Texans center Nick Martin is a Pro Bowl alternate.

Tranquill Named To Pro Football Focus NFL All-Rookie Team 

Former Notre Dame linebacker and captain Drue Tranquill was named to Pro Football Focus NFL All-Rookie Team as a special teams player.

From the start of the season, Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Tranquill was a standout on special teams, earning himself consistent recognition for making tackles on kickoffs or even blocking a punt.

After not playing a defensive snap in the first three games of the season, Tranquill slowly began to be used as a backup linebacker and then occasional starter.

Pro Football Focus actually rated Tranquill higher than their All-Pro rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw of the San Francisco 49ers, but Greenlaw played defense in every game, starting most of them.

Tranquill appeared in 15 games this season, finishing with 75 total tackles, four TFLs and a pass deflection.

Irish in the Playoffs

Eight different former Notre Dame players were active in the NFL Playoffs over the weekend.

• Miles Boykin (2015-18), WR, Baltimore Ravens: Targeted seven times for three catches and 26 yards in Baltimore’s 28-12 home loss to the Tennessee Titans… In the regular season, he had 13 receptions for 195 yards and three scores.

• Sheldon Day (2012-15), DL, San Francisco 49ers: Recorded two tackles and one TFL in 49ers’ 27-10 home win over the Minnesota Vikings… He compiled 15 tackles and a sack in the regular season.

• Will Fuller (2013-15), WR, Houston Texans: Targeted eight times for five catches and 89 yards in the Texans’ 51-31 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs… On the season he had 49 receptions for 670 yards and three touchdowns in nine games played.

• Nick Martin (2011-15), OL, Houston Texans: Started at center in the Texans 51-31 road loss to the Kansas City 49ers… Played 100 percent of the offensive snaps at center in every game but one in the regular season. Is a Pro Bowl alternate.

• Mike McGlinchey (2013-17), OL, San Francisco 49ers: Started in the 49ers' 27-10 home win over the 27-10 win over the Vikings. Started 11 games at right tackle in the regular season.

• Kyle Rudolph (2008-10), TE, Minnesota Vikings:Was targeted three times for two catches and four yards in the Vikings 27-10 road loss to the 49ers… In the regular season, he had 39 receptions for 368 yards and six touchdowns.

• Harrison Smith (2007-11), S, Minnesota Vikings: Recorded eight tackles in the Vikings' 27-10 road loss to the 49ers… In the regular season, he had 85 tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions. Made the NFL Pro Bowl once again.

• Ronnie Stanley (2012-15), OT, Baltimore Ravens: Started in Baltimore’s 28-12 home loss to the Titans… Started every game but two in the regular season and recently made his first career NFL Pro Bowl. Made the Pro Bowl for the first time this season.

Green Bay Packers running back Dexter Williams and Seattle Seahawks running back CJ Prosise did not play in their respective team's matchup in the second round of the playoffs due to illness or injury.


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