NFL Draft: Notre Dame vs. The Nation

Breaking down the NFL Draft production for Notre Dame and how it compares to the rest of the Power 5 programs
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Notre Dame produced six NFL Draft picks in the 2020 class, which is the third time - and second straight year - that head coach Brian Kelly and his staff produced a six-man class. The total ties the third most under Kelly.

Over the past five draft classes (2016-2020) the Fighting Irish have produced a total of 25 draft picks, including 19 in the first four rounds of the draft.

During that stretch, Notre Dame is tied with Washington and Miami (Fla.) for the 8th most in the country. Here's a look at where the Fighting Irish rank nationally.

RD 1 = Round 1, RD 2-4 = Rounds 2-4, RD 5-7 = Rounds 5-7

RD 1 = Round 1, RD 2-4 = Rounds 2-4, RD 5-7 = Rounds 5-7

Although Notre Dame and Miami are tied for total drafted players, the Hurricanes have just two first round picks and 10 in the first four rounds. Note Dame has five first round picks and produced 19 players in the first four rounds.

Notre Dame's five first round draft picks is tied with Florida, Oklahoma and Michigan for 6th most nationally in the last five classes.

The Irish have produced 14 combined players in rounds two through four, which is tied with Clemson for the 5th most. Notre Dame has produced 19 combined players in rounds one through four, which ranks 6th behind Alabama (39), Ohio State (38), LSU (28), Florida (22) and Clemson (22).

What was fascinating about these numbers is Clemson's NFL production relative to the "powerhouses." 

Clemson is much, much closer to Notre Dame than they are Alabama, Ohio State and even LSU over the last five years. Yet Clemson has won two national titles in the last five years and has played for the title in all but one season.

Clemson is the only team to make the College Football Playoff in each of the last five seasons.

Another fascinating statistic was UCLA's draft production combined with a 25-37 overall record during that stretch.

Next, let's take a look at where Notre Dame would rank within and how they stack up against teams in each conference.

NOTRE DAME vs. ACC

ACC

ACC: Notre Dame actually stacks up well against Clemson, with the Tigers having three more first rounders and just three more total picks in the first four rounds.

In the last two classes the Tigers have produced 13 draft picks and Notre Dame has produced 12, although Clemson has produced five first round picks, two second round picks and one third round pick (8 in first three rounds) compared to just one first round pick for the Irish in the first round, two in the second round and two third round picks (5 in first three rounds).

Clemson has produced 22 players in the first four rounds and Notre Dame has produced 19. The next closest is NC State, who produced 13 players in the first four rounds.

Here's a crazy statistic, in the last five drafts Notre Dame has produced more players in the first four rounds (19) than total Florida State players in all rounds (15).

NOTRE DAME vs. SEC

SEC

SEC: Alabama has significantly higher production than every program in the country not named Ohio State. It's almost hard to grasp how much further ahead Alabama and Ohio State are than the rest of the country.

LSU was at 23 draft picks coming into the 2020 Draft cycle while Notre Dame was at 19. LSU producing 14 drafted players in the 2020 Draft vaulted them up the rankings.

Georgia (26) has one more total draft pick than Notre Dame (25) in the last five drafts, but the Irish have produced more players in the first four rounds (19) than the Bulldogs (15). Georgia produced more players in rounds five through seven (11 to 6).

Only Alabama (39), LSU (28) and Florida (22) have produced more than Notre Dame's 19 players in the first four rounds. Georgia is next (15) and no other SEC team has more than 13 (Auburn).

Tennessee's lack of NFL Draft production (11 total picks) was expected, but still hard to grasp when you consider that program's tradition. 

Kentucky ranks second to last in the SEC with just eight drafted players, but the Wildcats are 37-27 on the field during that stretch, which speaks volumes about the outstanding coaching job Mark Stoops has done in Lexington.

NOTRE DAME vs. BIG TEN

Big Ten

BIG TEN: When looking at Ohio State's draft production the last five years it's amazing to consider the Buckeyes have yet to reach the national title game and are 0-2 in their two playoff trips.

Ohio State has more produced more players in the first three rounds (33) than Clemson has in all seven rounds combined, yet the Tigers are 2-0 against the Buckeyes in the CFP and have two titles.

Michigan has produced five more total draft picks than Notre Dame due to its ability to produce players at the end of the draft. Notre Dame (19) has produced more players in the first four rounds than the Wolverines (18).

Penn State has produced 23 total draft picks, with 14 coming in the first four rounds. After the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Nittany Lions, no other Big Ten team has as many total draft picks as Notre Dame has produced in the first four rounds.

Northwestern's 39-26 record the last five years despite producing just six draft picks is quite impressive.

NOTRE DAME vs. BIG 12

Big 12

BIG 12: Notre Dame has produced more total draft picks (25) and more players in the first four rounds (19) than any team in the Big 12. Oklahoma is right behind with 24 total draft picks and 18 players in the first four rounds. The Sooners equaled Notre Dame's total number of first round picks.

No other team in the Big 12 has as many total draft picks as Notre Dame has produced in the first four rounds. In fact, only TCU (17) and West Virginia (15) have as many total draft picks as Notre Dame has produced in the first three rounds (14).

Texas ranking fifth in the Big 12 and producing just 11 draft picks i the last five years is a staggering lack of production from such a storied program that sits in the second best producer of high school talent in the country. The Longhorns did not produce a single first round pick in the last five classes.

Oklahoma State's 45-20 record is quite impressive when you consider the Cowboys produced just nine draft picks in the last half decade. That's maximizing your talent. 

Texas Tech produced the same number of drafted players (with two first rounders) as the Cowboys but went just 27-35 on the field. Yet their head coach during most of that stretch was able to get fired from TTU with a 35-40 overall record and still land a head coaching job in the NFL.

NOTRE DAME vs. PAC 12

Pac 12

PAC 12: Notre Dame is tied with Washington in total draft picks (25), but the Irish have more first round picks (5 to 3) and more total players in the first four rounds (19) than the Huskies (16).

Notre Dame produced more first round players (5) and more players in the first four rounds (19) than any team in the Pac 12. Washington has the most players in the first four rounds in the conference (16) while UCLA has the most first round picks (4).

Notre Dame's 14 picks in the first three rounds is more than seven Pac 12 teams have in total draft production. Only three Pac 12 teams (Washington, UCLA, Utah) have more total draft picks than Notre Dame's 19 in the first four rounds.

Notre Dame has as many players drafted in the first four rounds (19) as USC has total players drafted in the last five classes (19).

Washington State ranked third to last in the Pac 12 in total NFL draftees (8) but produced the fourth best record (43-22). 

Yesterday I broke down Notre Dame's past five draft classes compared to the previous five years at the school and how that stacked up over five-year increments the previous 30 years. 

You can read that HERE.

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