No. 4 Notre Dame football first-round draft pick of the last 25 years: Ronnie Stanley
2016 NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 6
Baltimore Ravens, 2016–present
Ronnie Stanley was progressing into a top offensive tackle in the NFL before everything changed during the COVID-19-stricken 2020 season. Stanley broke his ankle against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 and missed the rest of the 2020 season and all but one game in 2021.
As Justin Fried wrote for Ebony Bird, Stanley was seen as a potential injury retiree before returning in 2022 and returning to his pre-injury form.
“A devastating ankle injury sidelined Stanley during the prime of his career, and there have been times when it seemed like the former sixth-overall pick might never suit up for the Ravens again, let alone return to his pre-injury form,” Fried prefaced before saying, “It’s taken a couple of years, multiple corrective surgeries, and endless rehab stints, but Ronnie Stanley is back. Not only is he back, but he’s playing like an All-Pro again. The Ravens’ offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL this season, and a large part of that is due to the re-emergence of their star left tackle.”
Stanley could turn out to make good on all of the potential he had coming out of South Bend — and if he did, it’d make him a Notre Dame football legend who didn’t let adversity stop his goals from being achieved.