High-end talent was the theme of the Notre Dame football NFL 2018 draft, but the 2019 class could provide tremendous depth.
It will be difficult for Notre Dame football to replicate what happened in the 2018 NFL Draft next year. Two players from the same school rarely get picked in the top ten of the same draft, and certainly not within the same position group. With that said, the 2019 Notre Dame draft class has a chance to be very good. The roster is loaded with talented seniors returning to improve their draft stock, and a few underclassmen have a chance to place their stamp on this coming season. This should be another solid draft class for the Irish. Today, we will focus on the players that have no remaining eligibility after the 2018 season.
This list couldn’t start without another Notre Dame offensive lineman. The trend continues for the Irish, as Mustipher should end up as one of the better centers in this draft class. After struggling early on in his career, Mustipher has become a tremendous anchor for the Notre Dame interior. The fifth-year captain should hear his name before Day 2 comes to a close in 2019.
Surprise, Surprise! Another offensive lineman that probably ends up drafted out of Notre Dame. Bars could provide positional flexibility in scouts eyes, which is always valuable. He enters the 2018 season as a three-year starter and has only improved. His draft range is probably anywhere from Round 2 to Day 3.
Scouts will love Williams’ athleticism and low mileage coming out of college. They will not love his pass protection or his durability. However, he still has his senior season to prove his capabilities. There is no doubting his potential. He is likely a UDFA right now, but that could change very quickly.
Two words: Ben Koyack. Weishar has yet to cement himself as a full-time starter in the Irish offense, but one season could change everything. Notre Dame’s reputation for producing quality tight ends cannot be understated. A solid season out of Weishar, and he could see his draft stock soar. Current Projection: UDFA
Tillery is the most likely player to hear his name called on Day 1 in 2019. All the tools are there to be drafted high. Quickness, smarts, interior pass rush, size — none of that is in question. However, a few things are holding Tillery back. Production has not always been there, dirty plays are in his past, and some will question his love for football. Some of these might not be fair, but the NFL draft process can be cruel. He shouldn’t fall farther than the end of Day 2.
This one is pretty simple. If Coney declared early, he was likely a Day 3 selection. In his first year as a starter, Coney developed nicely in the middle of Notre Dame’s defense, but his flaws were noticeable on film. He is currently a 2-down linebacker at the next level. The athleticism is there to be in pass coverage, but that needs to show on tape. With another productive season, there is no reason he shouldn’t be one of the top off-ball linebackers in the 2019 class.
Tranquill is an interesting prospect to evaluate. He came to Notre Dame as safety/linebacker hybrid, but never really played that role until this past season. Injuries derailed his career early on, but those are hopefully a thing of the past. He heads into his fifth year with two straight fully healthy seasons under his belt and will move to a more traditional linebacker role. In the Spring game, he looked bulked up, but didn’t lose his speed. Fortunately for Tranquill, smaller, quicker linebackers are taking over the NFL. He should find a place on Day 3, assuming his medicals are clear.
Unfortunately Bilal does not have another year of eligibility, but that is how it plays out sometimes. This is more of a project-ability pick due to his athleticism, but with a good season he could wow scouts. His sideline to sideline speed is second to none out of the Notre Dame linebackers, but he has yet to see significant playing time. If drafted next year, the Notre Dame defense was probably outstanding.
If Bonner can put together another quality season, he could receive some UDFA looks. With that said, he almost didn’t return to football for his 5th year to pursue other goals. I’m not sure the NFL is high on his priority list.
One of the better kickers in college football, Yoon should see some time in the NFL regardless if he is drafted or not. He won’t wow scouts with range, but his accuracy and ability to kick in poor weather conditions is a major plus.
Anyone see the run on punters in this year’s draft? That should make Newsome feel good heading into the 2019 draft. Notre Dame’s fifth-year captain has been a reliable punter throughout his career, and the NFL in definitely in his future.
Overall, this senior class doesn’t demonstrate the star power from this past year. However, plenty of guys can improve their draft stock tremendously with good 2018 seasons. Couple that with the underclassmen (we will hit on them later this week), and Notre Dame could see at least eight players drafted in 2019.