Notre Dame Football: Top 10 Former Irish in the NFL

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Zack Martin /
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Notre Dame football
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 6: Former Notre Dame football players Golden Tate and Harrison Smith /

Notre Dame football continues to produce NFL talent on a consistent basis

Notre Dame has no problem putting players in the NFL, and very good ones at that. Since 2010, 18 former Notre Dame football players have been selected within the first two rounds of the draft — and eight of them have been 1st rounders.

Creating a top 10 list is fairly difficult. After the first 5 or so players, there is a plethora of players that are fairly equal in their standing. I tried to base it on production more so than projectability. That means no Jaylon Smith or Quenton Nelson cracking the Top 10, but they were honorable mentions.

Let’s take a look at the 9 worthy honorable mentions to this list.

Matthias Farley, J.J. Jansen, Nick Martin, Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Romeo Okwara, Jaylon Smith, Manti Te’o and Sam Young. 

Some Quick Notes…

Young and Jansen are the veterans on this list, mainly due to their long careers in the NFL. Jansen is widely known as one of the top long snappers in the NFL, while Young has been a versatile swing tackle since entering the league in 2010.

I felt obligated to include Nelson and McGlinchey, as they both should have long lasting careers. Nelson should be one of the top interior linemen in the NFL starting Week 1 of this season, and McGlinchey is projected to start at right tackle immediately.

Nick Martin and Jaylon Smith have both dealt with major injuries early on in their careers, but the talent is there to be considered one of the best at their respective positions. If the NFL ever sees the Notre Dame Jaylon Smith, we are all in for a treat. Even at nowhere near 100 percent, Smith started 6 games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and compiled 81 tackles, three for loss and one sack.

Lastly are a few undrafted guys that have contributed a significant amount since entering the league. Okwara was signed by the New York Giants in 2016 and instantly became a contributor along the defensive line. He was was out with an injury for most of 2017, but he should have a role in 2018.

Matthias Farley deserves all the credit in the world for what he has become. He was an overlooked 3-star recruit out of high school and had to earn his playing time at Notre Dame. He went on to have a very successful career in South Bend and signed with the Arizona Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft.

He was eventually released and signed with Indianapolis Colts. After playing sparingly in his rookie season, he started 15 games in 2017, recording 98 tackles and 2 interceptions. Farley is one of the best kept secrets in the NFL.