With the 2016 NFL draft over its never too early to start looking at Notre Dame’s best prospect for 2017.
Notre Dame football had one of it’s more successful drafts in recent history as they had six guys taken. The Irish had two players picked in the first round (Will Fuller and Ronnie Stanley), and four players taken in the top 50 (Fuller, Stanley, Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin).
Even though the draft just ended its never too early to start looking at the prospects for next season. Brian Kelly has the program in a position now where it looks like the Irish should be able to churn out a handful of NFL draft picks every year. Here are the top Notre Dame NFL Prospects for 2017.
Torii Hunter Jr. – WR
Hunter has the opportunity to greatly improve his stock this season as he should be one of the top targets for the Irish offense. Hunter’s speed and catching ability will make him an intriguing prospect for NFL teams
Cole Luke – CB
Luke has been a two-year starter and has been a contributor on defense since the day one. As we saw with KeiVarae Russell this season, corners tend to go earlier rather than later, so with a nice senior season he could have a chance to get drafted reasonably high.
Mike McGlinchey – LT
McGlinchey is a guy who I think could work himself into the first or second round with strong senior season. Just his physical attributes alone make him an interesting prospect. He stands at 6’7″, 310 lbs, which is ideal size for a tackle in the NFL. He’ll start at left tackle this season for the Irish.
James Onwualu – OLB
Onwualu will be one of the most underrated players in the draft next season. As a former wide receiver he possesses great speed and has great cover skills. With him being one of the top dogs for the Irish on defense this season, he’ll be able to put a few more people on notice.
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Isaac Rochell – DL
Rochell is moving back to his normal position of big end this upcoming season after spending last season at rush end. Like Day, he is able to play multiple positions on the line. Rochell could definitely add some solid depth to an NFL team.
Tarean Folston – RB
Folston is coming off a major knee injury, but before that he showed to be a reliable back. He doesn’t have great speed or size, so don’t expect him to be a high pick. Assuming he comes back this season and plays we’ve all seen him play, Folston will be a quality NFL running back prospect.
DeShone Kizer – QB
Now Kizer will be on here if he does win the starting job. As a first year starter last season Kizer showed everything you want to see from a quarterback. He has the arm, the size, the mobility and the poise. With a year under his belt he should be even better in 2016 and will be one of the better quarterbacks in the class if he decides to come out.
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Durham Smythe – TE
Since we will see a return of TightEndU this upcoming season, Smythe is due for a big year. If he didn’t get hurt in the second game of the year we would have saw a lot more of him last season. Smythe is the complete package at tight end. He has great catching abilities and also is a great blocker in the run game. Smythe can also stretch the field with his speed.