A very recent draft class comes in at No. 2, and it’s one Irish fans will remember fondly. The NFL Draft Class of 2016 is already one that has proven itself very successful in the NFL, and could very well end up being viewed as Notre Dame’s best ever.
In 2016, Notre Dame saw 7 players cross the stage as newly drafted NFL talent. Ronnie Stanley, Will Fuller, Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell, C.J. Prosise and Sheldon Day represent one of the top classes of talent Notre Dame has seen in years. This class, unlike many others before, has also been very successful at the NFL level.
Robert Stanley has been outstanding for the Baltimore Ravens. Stanley started 12 games in his rookie season in 2016 and 15 of a possible 16 in the 2017 season. Stanley was the first offensive lineman off the board in the 2016 Draft, selected by Baltimore with the 6th pick. The Ravens will surely feel they got their moneys worth with Stanley.
Notre Dame’s other 1st round pick of the 2016 NFL Draft was none other than the speedster, Will Fuller. Fuller was selected 21st overall by the Houston Texans. He has filled in very nicely as the No. 2 receiver in Houston behind one of the best in the game, DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller has been the same long-ball threat he was at ND with many highlight reel touchdowns for Houston. He represents a part of the young core of the Texans that should be a fun team to watch this season.
The remaining members of the 2016 Draft Class are all member of NFL squads and will be worth watching as we head toward next season. Notre Dame fans will be hoping to see the Jaylon Smith they saw at Notre Dame, as he is starting to take form again with the Cowboys. Smith suffered tears to his ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State in 2016 and has not quite looked the same since. Nick Martin and C.J. Prosise have also been successful in the NFL. Martin is the starting Center for the Texans and Prosise is used in a variety of positions for Seattle.