Feb 26, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Michael Floyd participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Combine Preview: Notre Dame Participants

The NFL Combine begins this Saturday and runs through Tuesday. Notre Dame will have 8 participants in the combine. All players have a chance to be drafted this April. They can begin to improve their chances this weekend.

Manti Te’o is the headliner. According to NFL.com, he is Notre Dame’s only 1st Round prospect. He is rated 87.5. A score between 85-95 is an “Immediate Starter” or a 1st Round Pick. He is still slated to be the 21st by the Cincinnati Bengals by WalterFootball.com.

Te’o needs to have a good workout. It will be interesting to see how fast he runs. Most people perceive him as a slower player with great instincts. NFL.com does not separate Outside Linebackers and Inside Linebackers in their Combine History. But, for what it is worth, Jon Alston, a Linebacker from Stanford, ran a 4.40 at the 2006 Combine.  Te’o will not come near that number nor does he need to. He probably needs to break a 4.6 to stay in the first round. Great 49ers Inside Linebacker Patrick Willis ran a 4.51 during his combine.

Tyler Eifert is the next Notre Dame player who will be looking to come off the board. It seems like his draft stock has cooled somewhat. It has been nothing that Eifert has done but other prospects such as Zach Ertz and Jordan Reed have emerged as potential 1st Round selections. Eifert is currently listed as the 46th selection in the same Mock Draft. Eifert should impress during his combine workout. He should be able to run a sub 4.6 40-yard dash, which would put him in the top of all combine performers.

The third player in line to be drafted is Zeke Motta who scouts believe is nearly a carbon copy Harrison Smith. He has a grade of 71.2. This puts him in the 2nd-3rd Round range. However, WalterFootball.com does not have him being selected in the first four rounds of their Mock Draft. They have him projected between the 5th and 7th Round. Motta needs to show scouts that he has enough speed to compete with elite Wide Receivers.

Cierre Wood had a good but inconsistent career at Notre Dame. He showed flashes of being dominant but also failed to nail down the starting position. Wood will probably test very well. His 40-time should help his draft stock. Ultimately, his downfall will be the film that shows that he lacks power for his size. He is currently projected to go in the middle of the draft. WalterFootball.com has him going in the 5th or 6th Round.

Braxton Cave and Theo Riddick will also likely be selected in the NFL Draft. Cave has a lot of experience and was one of Notre Dame’s best linemen during that time. Riddick’s flexibility will probably get him drafted. He could prove a lot by running a good 40-time. But, based on some plays this season, it is doubtful that he will run quickly enough to improve his stock. Cave is predicted to go between 4th and 6th rounds. Riddick is projected to go on the final day.

Other prospects who are attempting to get drafted are Jamoris Slaughter and Kapron Lewis-Moore. Both have suffered significant injuries and will not participate in combine workouts. But, if they are cleared by team doctors, it will be step for them.

Combine Schedule:

  • Saturday, Feb. 23: Tight Ends, Offensive linemen, Special teams
  • Sunday, Feb. 24: Quarterbacks, Running backs, Wide Receivers
  • Monday, Feb. 25: Defensive Linemen, Linebackers
  • Tuesday, Feb. 26: Defensive backs

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