The 2020 NFL Draft is now complete, and on the third day of the draft three more Notre Dame players heard their names called.
Cornerback Troy Pride Jr., defensive end Khalid Kareem and safety Alohi Gilman were all picked between rounds four through six. Here’s a recap of the action from day three.
Falling to the fourth round cost Pride some money, but from a fit and opportunity standpoint this could not have gone better for him. Not only was Pride drafted by a team that is an hour and a half from his hometown of Greer, South Carolina, he is going to a team in desperate need of help at cornerback.
Third-year cornerback Donte Jackson has one spot locked down, although he wasn’t as good in year two as he was as a rookie. If you look at the depth chart right now, Dominique Hartfield is listed as the starter opposite Jackson. Hartfield spent the 2019 season on the practice squad after being cut by the Rams.
The other cornerbacks on the roster are former undrafted free agent Natrell Jamerson, who played for three different teams in three years and has 13 career tackles, and former fifth-round pick Corn Elder, who the Panthers cut before the season and then resigned in November off the New York Giants practice squad.
If Pride goes into camp focused he’ll have a chance to at the very least win a job as the third corner, but earning a starting job is not out of the realm of possibility at all.
Kareem was hurt by the fact he had shoulder surgery in January and wasn’t able to participate in the Senior Bowl or the NFL Scouting Combine. There’s a good chance he could have heard his name called a round or two earlier if not for the medical question mark and the missed opportunities after the season.
But Kareem also found a good landing spot, although the competition for him at defensive end will be a bit more stiff than what Pride is facing in Carolina.
Cincinnati drafted Sam Hubbard in 2018 and he’s been good for the Bengals so far. The other starter - Carlos Dunlap - is 31 years old and hasn’t had double digit sack numbers in five seasons. Fourth round pick Carl Lawson (2017) had a strong rookie season but has been banged up in the two seasons since.
There’s certainly an opportunity for Kareem, when healthy, to come in and earn a rotation spot early in his career. His all-around talent is such that if he can improve as a pass rusher - which means improving his repertoire and burst - Kareem has a chance to become a starter down the road for the Bengals.
The Los Angeles Chargers apparently love Notre Dame players, and Gilman is the latest addition to that defense. Los Angeles drafted former Irish end Isaac Rochell (7th Round) in 2017, and then added Jerry Tillery (1st Round) and Drue Tranquill (4th Round) in last season’s draft. The Chargers then signed linebacker Asmar Bilal as an undrafted free agent soon after the draft ended.
Gilman will be counted on to come in immediately and fight for a role on special teams. If you’ve watched Gilman play the last two seasons then you’ll assume he’ll come in and make his presence felt immediately on special teams. Los Angeles also added a player with tremendous character and an infectious work ethic.
With Derwin James and 2019 second round pick Nasir Adderly on the roster, there isn’t an expectation that Gilman - a sixth round pick - will come in and push for time at safety. But if he can get on the roster with his special teams work he’ll get an opportunity to eventually work his way into the rotation.
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