2016 Notre Dame National Football League Draft Recap

notre dame

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame had seven former players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft this past weekend. In fact, all seven players were picked in the first four rounds, which equaled the school record for players selected in the top four rounds of the draft.

 

  • Here’s the list of seven former Notre Dame players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft

 

Player Pos. Team Round (Overall)
Ronnie Stanley OT Baltimore Ravens 1st (6)
Will Fuller WR Houston Texans 1st (21)
Jaylon Smith LB Dallas Cowboys 2nd (34)
Nick Martin C Houston Texans 2nd (50)
KeiVarae Russell CB Kansas City Chiefs 3rd (74)
C.J. Prosise RB Seattle Seahawks 3rd (90)
Sheldon Day DT Jacksonville Jaguars 4th (103)

 

  • Here’s the top 10 list for rookie contract values by school according to Spotrac.com.

 

Rank Total Value School
1. 117,499,008 Ohio State
2. 51,251,888 Notre Dame
3. 39,218,233 Alabama
4. 38,718,582 Florida
5. 37,782,517 Clemson

 

  • Notre Dame was one of four schools with multiple first-round picks in 2016. The Irish have had multiple first-round picks 16 times in school history (2016, ’12, 1994, ’93, ’78, ’72, ’69, ’67, ’60, ’55, ’54, ’51, ’49, ’46, ’45, and ’44).
  • Six Notre Dame players have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2012, which ranks as the sixth-most in the FBS over the span. The Irish have an equal amount of first-round picks since 2012 than Oklahoma (one), Michigan (one), Texas (two) and Tennessee (two) combined.

 

Notre Dame First-Round NFL Draft Picks
1995-2011 (17 drafts) 4
2012-2016 (5 drafts) 6
Rank School First Round Draft Picks since 2012
1. Alabama 11
2. Florida State 7
Florida 7
Ohio State 7
Texas A&M 7
6. Notre Dame 6

 

  • Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has produced twice as many first-round NFL Draft picks (six) than the three previous Notre Dame head coaches combined (three). In fact, only Ara Parseghian (12), Lou Holtz (12) and Frank Leahy (10) have produced more first-round picks during their entire Irish coaching tenures. Of course, Kelly’s total has come over just six NFL drafts.

 

Rank Coach (Tenure) First Rounders NFL Drafts
1. Lou Holtz (1986-96) 12 11
Ara Parsegian (1964-74) 12 11
3. Frank Leahy (1941-43, 46-53) 10 11
4. Brian Kelly (2010-) 6 6
5. Dan Devine (1975-80) 5 5
Terry Brennan (1954-58) 5 5

 

  • With seven picks in the first four rounds, the 2016 Irish draft class matches the 1955, ’67, ’93 and ’94 draft classes for the most in school history at this elite stage.
  • Notre Dame has produced at least seven draft picks for the second time in the last three years. Eight Irish players were chosen in 2014.
  • Notre Dame’s seven picks tied Alabama and Florida for the fourth-most of any school in 2016. Only Ohio State (12), Clemson (nine) and UCLA (eight) saw more players chosen.
  • Since the NFL draft began in 1936, 492 Notre Dame football players have been selected. That total is the second most of any school in the nation. Only USC has had more players drafted in the NFL (493).

 

Picks School No. 1 Picks First-Rounders First-Rounders (2010s)
493 USC 5 79 5
492 Notre Dame 5 66 6
429 Ohio State 3 76 6
378 Oklahoma 3 43 5
357 Nebraska 3 33 2

 

  • No school has been more consistent in terms of supplying players to the NFL. Notre Dame has had a player selected in 79 of the 81 NFL Drafts (only misses were in 1937 and 1977).
  • Notre Dame has the longest streak of at least one player drafted at 79 straight years (when including the 1977 NFL supplemental draft).
  • Sixty-six Notre Dame players have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Only USC (79) and Ohio State (76) have had more.
  • With the selection of KeiVarae Russell in the 2016 NFL Draft (Kansas City Chiefs, third round), Notre Dame had nine starters drafted from its 2012 defense that led the Irish to the BCS National Championship game.
  • Notre Dame had six players chosen in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. It’s the most since the Irish had a school-record seven players selected in the top three rounds of the 1994 draft.
  • Notre has had at least six players drafted in three of the last four NFL Drafts (2013, ’14 and ’16).
  • Six Notre Dame players were selected in the top three rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft. Only once in school history have the Irish had more selected in the first three rounds (seven, 1994).
  • Notre Dame had four players (Ronnie Stanley, 6; Will Fuller, 21; Jaylon Smith, 34; Nick Martin, 50) selected in the top 50 picks of the NFL draft for the first time since 1993 (Rick Mirer, 2; Jerome Bettis, 10; Tom Carter, 17; Irv Smith, 20; Demetrius DuBose, 34; Reggie Brooks, 45).
  • With Stanley, Fuller, Smith and Martin all being selected in the top two rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft, Notre Dame has had 11 players selected in the top two rounds of the draft since 2012.

 

Rank School Top-Two Round Draft Picks since 2012
1. Alabama 21
2. Florida State 15
3. Ohio State 14
4. LSU 12
5. Notre Dame 11

 

  • Nick Martin and Zack Martin (first round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2014) are the first set of brothers in school history to each get drafted in the top rounds of the NFL Draft.
  • Stanley is the highest-drafted Notre Dame player since quarterback Rick Mirer was the second-overall selection by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1993 draft.

 

  • Stanley is the highest drafted Irish offensive lineman since the Atlanta Falcons chose George Kunz with the second pick of the 1969 draft.
Player Pos. Team Round (Overall) – Draft
George Kunz OT Atlanta Falcons 1st (2) – 1969
Art Hunter C Green Bay Packers 1st (3) – 1954
George Connor OT New York Giants 1st (5) – 1946
Ronnie Stanley OT Baltimore Ravens 1st (6) – 2016
Frank Varrichione OT Pittsburgh Steelers 1st (6) – 1955
Frank Szymanski C Detroit Lions 1st (6) – 1945
  • Stanley is also the second Notre Dame offensive lineman in the last three years to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft joining Zack Martin (16th pick of the 2014 draft by the Dallas Cowboys).
  • In the past three drafts, Notre Dame has seen four offensive linemen selected in the first three rounds in Stanley, Zack MartinNick Martinand Chris Watt (third round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2014). Over the previous 12 years (2002-13), only two Notre Dame offensive linemen were drafted in the first three rounds in Jeff Faine (first round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2003) and Ryan Harris (third round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2007).
  • Fuller is the highest drafted Irish wideout since the Arizona Cardinals chose Michael Floyd with the 13th pick of the 2012 draft.
  • Fuller is also the second Irish wide receiver in the last five years to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft joining Floyd.
  • Fuller is the fifth wideout in school history to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Player Pos. Team Round (Overall) – Draft
Tim Brown WR Oakland Raiders 1st (6)
Jack Snow WR Minnesota Vikings 1st (8)
Jim Seymour WR Los Angeles Rams 1st (10)
Michael Floyd WR Arizona Cardinals 1st (13)
Will Fuller WR Houston Texans 1st (21)

 

  • Notre Dame had a pair of Indiana natives selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft (Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin). The tandem became the eighth and ninth players in school history from Indiana to be chosen in the top-two rounds of the NFL Draft and fourth since the arrival of head coach Brian Kelly.

 

Player (Hometown) Pos. TeamPlayer Round (Overall) – Draft
Rick Mirer (Goshen) QB Seattle Seahawks 1st (2) – 1993
Luther Bradley (Muncie) CB Detroit Lions 1st (11) – 1978
Zack Martin (Indianapolis) OG Dallas Cowboys 1st (16) – 2014
Tyler Eifert (Ft. Wayne) TE Cincinnati Bengals 1st (21) – 2013
Vagas Ferguson (Richmond) RB New England Patriots 1st (25) – 1980
Jaylon Smith (Ft. Wayne) LB Dallas Cowboys 2nd (34) – 2016
Anthony Johnson (South Bend) FB Indianapolis Colts 2nd (36) – 1990
Nick Martin (Indianapolis) C Houston Texans 2nd (50) – 2016
Derrick Mayes (Indianapolis) WR Green Bay Packers 2nd (56) – 1996

 

  • KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise continue a trend that has followed Irish head coach Brian Kelly at his previous coaching stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. They joined the Notre Dame program as a running back and safety, respectively. Russell was converted to a cornerback during preseason camp of his freshman year, while Prosise spent his freshman campaign on defense, then played two seasons at wide receiver and one at running back.
  • Russell and Prosise join the likes of Bennett Jackson and Troy Niklas of Notre Dame, Joe Staley from Central Michigan and Jason Kelceand Connor Barwin from Cincinnati. All seven opened their respective careers under Kelly at one position before ultimately getting drafted into the NFL at another position.

 

Player Pos. Team Round (Overall) – Draft
Joe Staley OT San Francisco 49ers 1st (28) – 2007
Connor Barwin DL Houston Texans 2nd (46) – 2009
Troy Niklas TE Arizona Cardinals 2nd (52) – 2014
KeiVarae Russell CB Kansas City Chiefs 3rd (74) – 2016
C.J. Prosise RB Seattle Seahawks 3rd (90) – 2016
Bennett Jackson CB New York Giants 6th (187) – 2014
Jason Kelce C Philadelphia Eagles 6th (191) – 2011

 

  • That group does not include NFL All-Pro and former first-round selection J.J. Watt, who Kelly recruited to Central Michigan (switched from a tight end to defensive end). Watt ultimately transferred and walked on at Wisconsin.
  • Notre Dame had five former players agree to terms on free-agent contracts with NFL clubs immediately after the 2016 draft. That group included Chris Brown (Dallas Cowboys), Amir Carlisle (Arizona Cardinals), Matthias Farley (Arizona Cardinals), Romeo Okwara (New York Giants) and Elijah Shumate (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Jarrett Grace (Chicago Bears) and Ishaq Williams (New York Giants) each secured a tryout with upcoming rookie mini-camps.

 

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