After the trio of Kyle Hamilton, Jarrett Patterson and Kyren Williams the Notre Dame outlook gets a little more bleak in regards to the 2022 NFL Draft class.
Each of those three may have the opportunity to hear their name called in the opening round if things fall the right way.
Aside from them, the quality of the class lies with a couple former top defensive line recruits, Jayson Ademilola and Isaiah Foskey. Both possess Day Two potential but currently lack the volume of snaps to convince NFL evaluators that their talent level is more than just an occasional flash.
The rest of Notre Dame hopefuls consist of Day Three to UDFA (undrafted free agent candidates) with some intriguing traits to consider.
Of the seven mentioned, all are in the final year of eligibility, making this now or never for their Notre Dame careers and draft stock.
Josh Lugg, Offensive Line (6-67e, 310e)
The first man off the bench for the Irish over the last couple seasons, Lugg has seen time at both offensive tackle and guard during his career, as well as a small amount of center during the 2020 season.
Lugg is set to finally assume a full-time starting role for the team in 2021, projected to start at right tackle. With the size and length profile, Lugg boasts he is sure to be on the NFL’s radar.
The big question is how he will fare in what will be his only season of full time starting experience. Regardless, coupling that size with the versatility to play multiple spots makes Lugg a very attractive piece coming from the offensive line factory known as Notre Dame.
Jack Coan, Quarterback (6-31v, 223v)
Set to finish out his college career at the University of Wisconsin in 2020, Coan’s senior season was put on hold following a foot injury that would require surgery.
Coan opted to use the graduate transfer option, finishing up his college career as a part of the Notre Dame program. The expected starter heading into 2021, Coan brings a beacon of consistency to a very inexperienced quarterback room.
He specializes in getting the ball out quickly, showing a good habit of taking care of the football. While there’s nothing flashy about Coan, his combination of size, football intelligence and intangibles will offer a look. Situation will dictate how long he’ll be able to cling to a roster spot in a backup role in the NFL.
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Defensive End (6-21v, 259v)
After spending the entirety of his career at defensive tackle, “MTA” shed a lot of weight this offseason, preparing to occupy a big end role in Marcus Freeman’s new defense.
MTA currently sits as a massive wildcard. There is currently very little film to evaluate his upside on the edge, particularly at his new weight. The flashes have always been there for Tagovailoa-Amosa.
He is an explosive mover who has some eye popping moments on film. There are just too many instances of him disappearing. If he is able to show some effectiveness in his new role, the inside-outside ability is an interesting component that NFL teams are sure to explore.
Of course that is assuming that he has a big year for his finale. For Irish fan’s sake, let’s hope that comes to fruition.
Avery Davis, Wide Receiver (5-11v, 199v)
Davis took the road less traveled, experiencing more position switches in four seasons than most experience in a lifetime. A once promising quarterback recruit, Davis has lined up under center, at wide receiver, running back and cornerback during his Irish career.
After so much transition, he appears to have found a home permanently out wide. That led to some big moments during the 2020 season, specifically a huge catch and run setting up his game-tying touchdown late in regulation of the first Clemson game.
With plenty of growth to go, Davis is a smooth all around athlete who brings outstanding versatility and a “make it” attitude to a team. If he is able to have a big final for the team, a late round selection could be in his future.
Drew White, Linebacker (6-02v, 221v)
Steady and consistent over the last couple years in the middle of the Irish defense, White has far exceeded his expectations as a three-star recruit coming out of national power St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla..
Boasting a quick trigger and solid enough athletic profile, White does admirable work transitioning downhill. He is a small framed backer who lacks the length and physicality to consistently stack and shed at the point of attack.
White has underwhelming short-area quickness to close windows consistently in the pass game. There are just some extreme limitations to his game. Expect a tough time for him to stick long term as a undrafted free agent.
Cain Madden, Offensive Line (6-24e, 313e)
A preseason All-American by various publications, Madden appears in heavy contention to start for the Irish after transferring from the Marshall program this offseason.
When you pop on the Thundering Herd film, Madden is a violent dude in the run game with some impressive strength once he fits inside.
The problem is there just doesn’t appear to be much of a physical profile to lean on. He lacks length, boasting a short and stubby frame. Madden’s foot quickness is also subpar, leaving the question just how well his game will elevate moving from Conference USA to the national schedule the Irish play.
For now, his physical traits project him more as an undrafted free agent currently, barring an outstanding final campaign in 2021.
Kurt Hinish, Defensive Tackle (6-21v, 294v)
People have a tough time separating good college football players from legit NFL Draft prospects. There is a massive difference. Hinish has been a symbol of consistency for the Irish over the course of his career.
He’s held down the nose tackle position seemingly forever for the team. He plays with great leverage, hand violence and physicality. Hinish emulates all that is great about the Notre Dame program. Unfortunately he just lacks the physical tools to be anything more than a camp body as it stands.
With shorter arms and underwhelming athleticism, he has almost no ability to play outside of his frame. That severely limits his impact to stick on the next level, especially without an impact on passing downs.
With recruiting success, there are some players who have the potential to fall through the cracks or find a role later in their careers.
Then there are players with obvious physical tools who for whatever reason, the light hasn’t gone off yet.
For the latter, wide receivers like Braden Lenzy and Kevin Austin are the once promising stars who fans still hold out hope for. Lenzy brings a ton of speed to the position that is sure to catch the attention of NFL evaluators if he is able to produce in 2021.
Austin, on the other hand, is as physically gifted of an athlete as you will see at the position across the country. He boasts a prototype frame of an X receiver, with plenty of athleticism and fluidity to boot. He remains as a huge wildcard heading into the season. If he puts it all together then he could burst onto the NFL Draft scene but that “if” is a long shot.
Originally a wide receiver early in his Notre Dame career, junior Cam Hart is set to start at cornerback for the Irish in 2021. Another huge wildcard, Hart brings outstanding length to the position that evaluators value heavily. Probably more of a 2023 prospect, expect Hart to rise tremendously if he puts a solid first year of film on tape.
The depth of Notre Dame’s potential draft prospects brings a lot of optimism to where the program is going. Even with a ton of turnover at certain positions, expectations remain high. If a number of players take a big jump, this could be one of the deeper draft hauls in recent Notre Dame history.
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