Notre Dame Football: Top 10 Former Irish in the NFL

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Zack Martin /
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Notre Dame football
Notre Dame football /

No. 1: Harrison Smith 

I went with Smith over Martin due to positional value. Smith, like Martin, is considered one of the best at his position and is still young enough to improve his potential Hall of Fame stock.

Out of high school, Smith was seen as a safety/linebacker hybrid and would likely fit well in the ROVER position in today’s scheme. That said, Smith eventually settled in at safety during his senior year at Notre Dame, and that decision has paid off. Smith went on to be a first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012.

With 17 career interceptions and 40 passes defended to his credit, Smith is ballhawk in the Vikings secondary. He is also a good run defender, consistently racking up 80 or more tackles per season.

In 2016, Smith signed a 5 year extension worth over $50 million, making him one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL.

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At age 29, Smith is coming off what was probably his best season and received high praise from the analytics people. Pro Football Focus recently rated Smith as the best safety in the NFL, and he received the highest score since PPF began 12 years ago. It should come as no surprise that Smith was selected to the All-Pro first team in 2017.