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2014 Notre Dame NFL Draft Synopsis

May 13, 2014

The University of Notre Dame had eight former players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft
this past weekend.

The Wall Street Journal did an interesting report card yesterday following the
draft. It listed the schools who put the most talent in this year’s NFL Draft, based
on how high their players were chosen (256 points for the top pick and one points
for the last selection).

Team Picks (Pts) Final Rank Top Selection
LSU 9 (1,268) 14th WR Odell Beckham (12th New York Giants)
Notre Dame 8 (1,255) 20th OT Zack Martin (16th Dallas Cowboys)
Florida State 7 (1,251) 1st WR Kelvin Benjamin (28th Carolina Panthers)
Alabama 8 (1,183) 7th LB C.J. Mosley (17th Baltimore Ravens)
Ohio State 6 (978) 12th LB Ryan Shazier (15th Pittsburgh Steelers)
Louisville 4 (879) 15th S Calvin Pryor (18th New York Jets)
UCLA 5 (828) 16th LB Anthony Barr (9th Minnesota Vikings)
Clemson 5 (748) 8th WR Sammy Watkins (4th Buffalo Bills)
Texas A&M 3 (736) 18th OT Jake Matthews (6th Atlanta Falcons)
North Carolina 5 (727) -- TE Eric Ebron (10th Detroit Lions)

Here’s the list of eight former Notre Dame players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Player Pos. Team Round (Overall)
Zack Martin OT Dallas Cowboys 1st (16)
Stephon Tuitt DL Pittsburgh Steelers 2nd (46)
Troy Niklas TE Arizona Cardinals 2nd (52)
Louis Nix III DL Houston Texans 3rd (83)
Chris Watt OG San Diego Chargers 3rd (89)
Prince Shembo LB Atlanta Falcons 4th (139)
Bennett Jackson CB New York Giants 6th (187)
TJ Jones WR Detroit Lions 6th (189)

• With Texas failing to have a player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, Notre Dame now
has the longest streak of at least one player drafted at 77 straight years
(including the NFL supplemental draft).
• Since the NFL draft began in 1936, 485 Notre Dame football players have been
selected. That total is the second most of any school in the nation. Only USC has
had more players drafted in the NFL (487).
• Sixty-four Notre Dame players have been selected in the first round of the NFL
Draft. Only USC (75) and Ohio State (71) have had more.
• No school has been more consistent in terms of supplying players to the NFL. Notre
Dame has had a player selected in 77 of the 79 regular NFL Drafts (only misses were
in 1937 and 1977). Oklahoma has also had a player chosen in 77 of 79 regular NFL
• Notre Dame had eight players chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Irish have not had
a larger haul in the draft since 1994 when Notre Dame had 10 players selected.
• Notre Dame’s eight drafted players was tied for the second most of any school in
the nation. LSU led the country with nine selections, while the Irish were tied with
• Notre Dame has now had eight starters drafted from its 2012 defense that led the
Irish to the BCS National Championship game.
• Notre Dame has had at least six players drafted in consecutive years for the first
time since 2002-03.
• Notre Dame had five players chosen in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.
It’s the most since the Irish had a school-record seven players selected in the top
three rounds of the 1994 draft.
• Since 1992, Troy Niklas was the seventh Notre Dame tight end to be chosen in the
top-two rounds of the NFL Draft. No other school in the nation has had more than
four over that span.
• Notre Dame had three players chosen in the second round of the NFL Draft for the
first time since 1990 when the Irish had four selected.
• The Dallas Cowboys chose Zack Martin with the 16th pick of NFL Draft. Martin’s
selection gave Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly four first-round picks in the last
three years of the draft. The Irish had a total of four first-round picks in the
previous 17 NFL Drafts.
• Zack Martin is the first Notre Dame offensive lineman selected in the first round
of the NFL Draft since Jeff Faine in 2003. Martin is the highest drafted Irish
offensive lineman since Andy Heck went No. 15 in the 1989 draft.
• Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand saw four of his pupils chosen in
the 2014 NFL Draft. Zack Martin and Chris Watt of Notre Dame were chosen in the
first and third round, respectively, while Tennessee offensive linemen Ja’Wuan James
and Zach Fulton went in the first and sixth rounds.
• Sixth-round pick Bennett Jackson and second-round selection Troy Niklas continue a
trend that has followed Irish head coach Brian Kelly at his previous coaching stops
at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Jackson and Niklas joined the Notre Dame program
as a wide receiver and linebacker, respectively. Jackson played one season (2010) as
a wideout before Kelly and the Irish staff felt his future was at cornerback. Niklas
played in 12 games as a reserve in 2011. He totaled 20 tackles, including eight solo
stops. Thus, Jackson and Niklas join the likes of Joe Staley from Central Michigan,
as well as Jason Kelce and Connor Barwin from Cincinnati. All five opened their
respective careers under Kelly at one position before ultimately getting drafted
into the NFL at another position. Staley was a first-round choice in 2007, while
Barwin (2009) and Niklas (2014) were second-round picks and Kelce (2011) and Jackson
(2014) were sixth-round selections.
• Notre Dame has had a first-round pick in three straight NFL drafts. The Irish had
not accomplished the feat since 1991-94.
• Notre Dame also had five former players sign free-agent contracts with NFL clubs
immediately after the draft. That group included George Atkinson III (Oakland
Raiders), Carlo Calabrese (Cleveland Browns), Dan Fox (New York Giants), Tommy Rees
(Washington Redskins) and Kona Schwenke (Kansas City Chiefs).

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