NFL Draft: SI Top 50 Has Two Former Notre Dame Standouts
Draft boards for NFL teams won't really start to take shape until after the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 23-March 2), the various Pro Days and personnel interviews.
But leading up to those events there is plenty of discussion and ranking of top players for the draft. A pair of former Notre Dame players are considered among the Top 50 prospects in the upcoming draft according to Sports Illustrated NFL Draft analyst Kevin Hanson.
Defensive Julian Okwara is the top ranked former Irish player on Hanson's board, checking in at No. 35. Hanson ranked Okwara as the sixth best edge player.
"Okwara’s season was cut short (fibula) and he has lacked consistency, but he’s a long and explosive athlete that has racked up 13.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL in 22 games over the past two seasons."
Tight end Cole Kmet checks in at No. 45 on the list, and is ranked as Hanson's top tight end in the draft.
"A two-sport athlete (with baseball) at Notre Dame, Kmet initially planned to return to South Bend, but he could be the TE1 in a relatively weak class. Kmet has reliable hands, good athleticism and runs good routes."
Six Notre Dame opponents from 2019 also cracked Hanson's Top 50 list. Former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas is the highest ranked player at No. 10 overall. Bulldog running back D'Andre Swift ranked No. 22 and offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson ranked No. 42.
Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton ranked No. 28. USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson ranked No. 29 and Trojan wideout Michael Pittman Jr. ranked No. 49.