NFL Draft: Notre Dame Continues Upward Trend

Notre Dame continues an upward trend of producing NFL Draft picks under Brian Kelly.
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Notre Dame is still a ways away from matching the NFL Draft production for the top teams in college football, but there has been an upward trend in the last five drafts. This is especially true when looking at premium round production.

Over the last five draft classes, Notre Dame has produced five more NFL Draft picks than it did the previous five classes. While that is not a major increase, there was a significant increase in early round players.

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Notre Dame produced just one more first round pick compared to the previous five years, but the total number of players in rounds one through four went up from 11 to 19 in the last five seasons.

The early round production under head coach Brian Kelly (2011-2020 drafts) blows away what it was the previous decade. Notre Dame produced just two first round picks in the decade prior to Kelly’s arrival and just 21 total players in the first four rounds.

Under Kelly, Notre Dame has produced nine first round picks and 30 total players in the first four rounds.

Not since the glory days of the Lou Holtz era has Notre Dame matched the current level of production. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but the upward trend is certainly a positive for the Irish program and its players.

The best five year stretch of the last four decades came from the 1990 to 1994 drafts. During that period, Notre Dame produced 46 total draft picks within the first 255 selections, which is what the current draft is. Notre Dame produced 12 first round picks and 32 total selections in rounds one through four.

That production matches what we are seeing from Ohio State and Alabama, who are clearly the top NFL producers in college football right now. Here are the leaders in NFL Draft production from the last five drafts.

1. Alabama - 48 total picks
2. Ohio State - 45 total picks
3. LSU - 37 total picks
4. Florida - 32 total picks
5. Clemson - 31 total picks
6. Michigan - 30 total picks
7. Georgia - 26 total picks
T-8. Notre Dame - 25 total picks
T-8 Miami - 25 total picks
T-8 Washington - 25 total picks

I will follow up this analysis with a deeper dive into how Notre Dame compares to the rest of the nation, but this shows the current upward trend in overall production and high level production.

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Notre Dame is still a ways away from matching the NFL Draft production for the top teams in college football, but there has been an upward trend in the last five drafts. This is especially true when looking at premium round production.

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