Recent Combine Performances For Notre Dame's Top NFL Prospects
While Notre Dame is still working to consistently producing top-10 recruiting classes, under head coach Brian Kelly the Fighting Irish have had no shortage of high-end NFL Prospects.
Some of them made their marks with big performances at the NFL Combine, and others were guaranteed to be first-round picks as soon as they declared for the draft.
Expectedly, many of the best NFL Prospect the Fighting Irish football program has produced under Kelly are offensive linemen. Since 2016, four offensive linemen were top-10 picks in the NFL Draft and three of them played at Notre Dame.
No Fighting Irish offensive linemen will be drafted in 2020, but it's still interesting to look back at some of their physical attributes and testing numbers, as well as other impressive Notre Dame prospects drafted during that time span.
Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley — 2016
Ronnie Stanley is an interesting test case for the NFL Combine. Outside of his height (he checked in at 6-6 at the 2016 NFL Combine), Stanley did not finish in the top 10 of any category amongst offensive linemen.
Yet, Stanley was considered one of the top-two offensive line prospects in the draft, along with, along with Jack Conklin, an offensive tackle with Michigan State that was taken No. 8 overall by the Tennessee Titans.
In part because of his testing numbers, Stanley graded out as a "good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl potential."
In just his fourth season, he was considered the best pass-blocking offensive linemen in the NFL — an important trait for a left tackle — and was named a first-team All-Pro. It's safe to say that Stanley is already exceeding expectations, even as the No. 6 overall pick in 2016.
Wide Receiver Will Fuller — 2016
In 2016, Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller chose to pass on most of the physical testing portion of the NFL Combine, except the 40-yard dash.
To no one's surprise, Fuller killed at this event, running 4.32-second 40-time, which was the second-fastest time behind only Georgia running back Keith Marshall, who produced a 4.31.
Fuller went on to become No. 21 overall pick by the Houston Texans at the 2016 NFL Draft.
Quarterback DeShone Kizer — 2017
While Kelly and several NFL Scouts believed Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer would benefit from another year in college, the signal-caller decided to declare for the 2017 draft.
At the combine, he put up solid testing numbers among quarterbacks. Kizer was the ninth fastest (4.83-second 40-yard dash) and had the eighth-best vertical jump (30.5 inches), but he struggled in other categories and ultimately looked like a very raw prospect with a good frame and a big arm.
The Cleveland Browns took a chance on him in the second round. Kizer has mostly struggled since, playing for a different team in each of his three NFL seasons.
Offensive Guard Quenton Nelson — 2018
By now, pretty much every avid NFL fan has seen Quenton Nelson dominate opposing defensive linemen and linebackers, but he also put together a memorable performance at the NFL Combine in 2018.
That year, only three prospects did more bench press reps than Nelson's 35 and only one of them was an offensive lineman.
Nelson was also in the top seven among offensive linemen when it came to the 20-yard shuttle. He ran a 4.62 while weighing 325 pounds, which is more than all but three other prospects at the NFL Combine that year.
Considered the best offensive line prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft, Nelson was taken as the No. 6 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts.
Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey — 2018
Like Stanley two years before him, Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey did not put up overly impressive physical testing numbers at the NFL Combine, but he still went on to become the No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the San Fransico 49ers.
In terms of height, McGlinchey was in the top-three among offensive linemen at 6-8, but a 309 pounds, he barely cracked the top-20 when it came to his weight.
He did the best in the vertical, jumping 28.5 inches, but that's the only physical testing category where he was in the top-15 among offensive linemen.
In just his second NFL season, McGlinchey started at right tackle in the Super Bowl and it appears the promising young player is only getting started.
Defensive Tackle Jerry Tillery — 2019
Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery impressed at the 2019 NFL Combine. At 6-6 and 295 pounds, he was the second-tallest defensive lineman and in the top 20 in terms of weight.
Even with his size, Tillery ranked among the top-10 defensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (4.93 seconds), vertical jump (32 inches), broad jump (9' 7") and the three-cone drill (7.45 seconds. He also had the fourth-best 20-yard shuttle (4.33).
Tillery's performance pushed him into the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, where he was taken with the No. 28 overall pick by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Wide Receiver Miles Boykin — 2019
A lot has been made up Miles Boykin 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Combine, but Boykin was impressive in almost every category.
At 6-4, he was one of the tallest receivers at the combine and still had the ninth-best 40-time amongst his position group. He also had the second-highest overall vertical jump (43.5 inches, tied for first among receivers) and the third-best overall broad jump (11' 8").
Heading into the combine, Boykin was generally considered a day-three pick, but his performance catapulted him into the being a third-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens.