The 5 greatest Notre Dame football NFL Draft “hidden gems” since 2000

The 2024 NFL Draft is approaching and beyond just Joe Alt, Notre Dame has plenty of potential late-round picks that could turn into stars. Maybe Sam Hartman, Cam Hart, or Audric Estime will be the next "hidden gem."
Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone tackles L.A. Rams running back Kyren Williams
Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone tackles L.A. Rams running back Kyren Williams / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Back in March, nearly every NFL team descended upon South Bend Indiana to lay their eyes on Joe Alt. The Notre Dame left tackle is projected to be a top 10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he wasn't the only player at Notre Dame's Pro Day whose name will be called in over the three-day marathon in Detroit. 

The 2024 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 25 and Notre Dame has eight prospects who will likely be selected. Only Alt will be a first-rounder, but as this list will show, you don’t have to be an early pick to have an impact in the NFL. 

Notre Dame has always been a football factory and since 2000, 105 players have been selected in the NFL. Many of the most recognizable names went Round 1 or 2, but the league also uncovered these “hidden gems” who were hiding in plain sight. 

Round: 6 Pick: 199. 50. Theo Riddick. . player. . Theo Riddick, RB. 5. 2013. Theo Riddick, RB

Over his four years at Notre Dame, Theo Riddick did it all. He began his career as a kick-returner and backup running back under Charlie Weis, but once Brian Kelly took over, Riddick moved to slot receiver for two years, before returning to the backfield as a senior. 

The NFL should have viewed his versatility as a positive, but the league didn’t know what to do with the dynamic playmaker and let him fall to the sixth round. As a rookie with the Lions, Riddick only ran the ball nine times for 25 yards and caught four passes for 26, but he did enough to make the team in 2014. 

In 2014, Riddick developed into a reliable third-down back and then in 2015, his third year in the league, he caught 80 passes out of the backfield for 697 yards with 43 carries for 133 on the ground. 

For his seven-year career, Riddick rushed for 1,037 yards on 294 carries and caught 290 passes for 2,281 yards.