The NFL regular season has come to a close and Kansas City is officially on the clock. The NFL Draft will be held on April 25-27 and several Notre Dame players expect to hear their names called. Here is an evaluation of where Notre Dame players may land in this year’s upcoming draft:
Manti Te’o will obviously be the first Notre Dame player off the board. His size, instincts and production at the college level are something that NFL Franchises seek. Moreover, Te’o has a great personality that may sway a team into selecting him. CBSSports.com has two very different opinions of Te’o. One columnist projects Te’o going 5th in the draft to the Detroit Lions. The other has him headed to New Orleans with the 15th pick. Why the disparity between the two? Normally, Middle Linebackers are not taken very high in the NFL Draft. Last year, Boston College Linebacker Luke Kuechly went 9th in the draft to the Carolina Panthers. Kuechly is on the short list of players who may win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Kuechly is 6’3” 235 lbs. It seems like NFL GMs would jump at the chance to select Manti Te’o who is 6’2″ 255 lbs with a great range and nose for the football. Te’o's workouts at the combine will make the difference between 5th and 15th.
Tyler Eifert will probably be the second Notre Dame player to come off the board. His skills are perfectly suited for today’s passing league. Eifert is projected anywhere from the 19th to 30th pick in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. His speed will probably be the biggest test for him in the entire process. If Eifert runs in the 4.5 or 4.6 range, his position near the middle of the first round should be solidified. Eifert has already demonstrated that he can catch anything and that he is improving as a blocker.
These two players will headline the class of 2013 but they are not the only players who look to be drafted. Among the others with a realistic chance are Theo Riddick, Braxston Cave, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Zeke Motta. Braxston Cave is probably the best set up for NFL currently. Motta should test out very well and may climb up draft boards.