Notre Dame 2019 Draft Summary
Through nine NFL drafts in the Brian Kelly era, a total of 39 Notre Dame players have been selected, notably a minimum of six in four of the last seven cycles. Also, 21 of those 39 occurred in the first three rounds.
The high mark was eight in 2014 (two of them as juniors). With six more chosen this year, Notre Dame now has had 504 picked since the debut of the NFL Draft in 1936. Only USC with 506 has more, with four of them this season.
The Fighting Irish were tied with Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss and Penn State for seventh-most selections this year with six apiece. The top six were Alabama (10), Ohio State (9), Oklahoma and Washington (8 apiece) and Georgia and Texas A&M (7 each).
Here is the 2019 summary plus a little Notre Dame history on the teams that selected the Fighting Irish players:
Defensive Tackle Jerry Tillery — First Round (No. 28)
Team: Los Angeles Chargers
In addition to becoming the first Fighting Irish defensive lineman selected in the first round since end Renaldo Wynn in 1997, Tillery is the initial tackle from the school since Bryant Young in 1994.
Overall, he is the 12th Notre Dame defensive lineman drafted in the first round and the 69th player overall.
Notable Fact: Tillery became the first Notre Dame player ever selected in the first round by this franchise, which in 2017 moved from San Diego (1961-2016) to Los Angeles.
Overall, he is the 15th Fighting Irish player drafted by the Chargers franchise, and the third in the last seven: linebacker Manti Te’o (2013, second round, but now at New Orleans) and defensive lineman Isaac Rochell (2017, seventh round)..
Top Three Notre Dame Players To Play For San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers:
Because this franchise didn’t make the move to Los Angeles until 2017, we will include the days from San Diego in 1961-2016.
1. Kicker John Carney — The fifth all-time leading scorer in NFL history with 2,062 points played 11 seasons with the Chargers (1990-2000), where he converted 261 field goals in 320 attempts (.816 percentage) and tallied a franchise record 1,076 points.
2. Tight end Pete Holohan —Seventh-round pick enjoyed productive seven years in the organization (1981-87) with 174 catches for 2,073 yards and seven TDs before also excelling elsewhere.
3. Linebacker Manti Te’o —Second-round pick recorded 221 tackles in four seasons, with the last in 2016 when he played only three games after an injury.
Wide Receiver Miles Boykin — Third Round (No. 93)
Team: Baltimore Ravens.
This organization was established in 1996, moving from Cleveland. Boykin became only the seventh player ever selected in the draft by the franchise.
Notable Fact: Boykin is the second Notre Dame receiver ever drafted by Baltimore. The other was Javin Hunter in the sixth round back in 2002.
Top Three Notre Dame Players To Play For Ravens:
1. Defensive end Anthony Weaver — Second-round pick in 2002 started 54 games, recorded 136 tackles in four years — 114 solo, with 23 for lost yardage.
2. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley — Selected No. 6 overall in 2016, he has started all 42 games he’s been healthy his first three seasons and could overtake Weaver this year at No. 1.
3. Safety Tom Zbikowski — Had 14 starts in his four seasons, finishing with 68 tackles after getting drafted in the third round back in 2008.
Cornerback Julian Love — Fourth Round (No. 108 overall)
Team: New York Giants
He became unofficially the 22nd Notre Dame player ever drafted by the Giants and first since fellow cornerback Bennett Jackson in the sixth round of 2014.
Notable Fact: Since the turn of the century 20 years ago, the only Notre Dame corners drafted higher were Brock Williams (2001) and KeiVarae Russell (2016), both in the third round.
Top Three Notre Dame Players To Play For New York Giants:
1t. Tight end Mark Bavaro and defensive end Justin Tuck — Both starred in two Super Bowl wins with the organization, both were two-time Pro Bowl picks, and both are in the Giants’ Ring of Honor. Tuck also was a four-time team captain while recording 60.5 sacks for the Giants.
3. Defensive back Dick Lynch —Likewise in the Ring of Honor, he recorded 37 career interceptions, twice leading the league with nine apiece in 1961 and 1963.
Linebacker Drue Tranquill — Fourth Round (No. 130 overall)
Team: Los Angeles Chargers.
Since 2005, the only two Notre Dame linebackers drafted higher than Tranquill both won the Butkus Award and were chosen in the second round: Te’o (2013) and Jaylon Smith (2016).
Notable Fact: The last time two Notre Dame teammates (Tranquill and Tillery) were selected by the same franchise was 2016 with receiver Will Fuller (first round) and center Nick Martin (second round) by Houston.
Top Three Notre Dame Players To Play For the Chargers:
See the list above for Tillery.
Running Back Dexter Williams — Sixth Round (No. 194 overall)
Team: Green Bay Packers
Williams is the 28th Notre Dame player ever drafted by the Packers, which is fifth among NFL teams (the Chicago Bears are No. 1 at 41). With receiver Equanimeous St. Brown also taken in the sixth round last year, this is the first time Green Bay selected someone from the Fighting Irish in back-to-back years since 1956-57.
Notable Fact: In the 20 drafts since the turn of the century, Williams is only the fourth running back chosen from Notre Dame. The others were Julius Jones (second round, 2004), Theo Riddick (sixth round, 2013) and C.J. Prosise (third round, 2016).
Top Three Notre Dame Players To Play For Green Bay:
1t. Halfback Paul Hornung —A member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, his name is synonymous with the Packers dynasty in the 1960s under head coach Vince Lombardi.
1t. Halfback Earl “Curly” Lambeau — The founder of the Packers, whom he played for from 1921-29, the stadium does bear his name, which should account for a lot.
3. Running back Ryan Grant — No. 2 overall pick in 1970 Mike McCoy had a quality career at defensive tackle from 1970-76, but Grant was a little more impactful. He became one of the NFL’s premier backs from 2007-09, finishing with 956, 1,203 and 1,253 yards rushing in those respective years, not including a 201-yard effort in a 2007 playoff win. An ankle injury sidelined him during the 2010 Super Bowl run, but he returned to the Packers in 2012.
Tight end Alize Mack — Seventh Round (No. 231 overall)
Team: New Orleans Saints
First player to be drafted by the Saints since 2004 — linebacker Courtney Watson — and 12th overall.
Notable Fact: Beginning with Anthony Fasano in 2006 (although he first became the starter in 2004), Mack is the eighth-straight Notre Dame starting tight end to get selected in the NFL Draft, and 30th overall.
Top Three Notre Dame Players To Play For New Orleans:
1. Cornerback Dave Waymer —Second-round pick of the Saints started 131 games for them from 1980-89, highlighted by Pro Bowl selection in 1987. His 48 career interceptions in the NFL are the most even by a Notre Dame alumnus, and 37 came with New Orleans.
2. Tight end Irv Smith — His son, Alabama's Irv Smith Jr., was picked in the second round by Minnesota as a tight end in this draft, but Smith Sr. was New Orleans’ first-round selection in 1993. In five seasons there he started 55 games, catching 134 passes for 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns.
3. Kicker John Carney — Second time he makes the list (along with the Chargers) after converting 150 of 180 field goals (.833) while at New Orleans from 2001-06.
• The undrafted free agents featured both guard Alex Bars and center Sam Mustipher going to the Chicago Bears, where 2012-17 Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand holds the same title.
• Linebacker Te’Von Coney, who led the Irish in tackles each of the past two seasons (116 in 2017 and 123 in 2018), is heading to the Oakland Raiders, as is safety/nickel Nick Coleman.
• Finally, punter Tyler Newsome, who was a captain last year with Tranquill, Mustipher and Bars, is joining Rochell, Tranquill and Tillery in Los Angeles.