Notre Dame Could Offer Eagles Plenty of Options

The Fighting Irish have a number of prospects that could help the Eagles next season
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PHILADELPHIA - Rule No. 1 in the personnel world is, "never scout the helmet."

For fans that might be most difficult with Notre Dame, which serves as the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees of the college football world. Many fans either love the Fighting Irish or hate the Blue and Gold and there's no middle ground.

When it comes to the NFL Draft, emotion only clouds decision-making, and with Notre Dame's Pro Day set for Wednesday, the Irish trotted out a whopping 14 players at its media availability in advance of the action, a marathon session that lasted more than three hours.

In other words, like the Irish or don't, but understand there's a lot of talent coming out of Notre Dame this year.

The headliner of the 2021 draft class for the Irish is a modern-era unicorn on the back seven in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the rare player with the athleticism to line up over slot receivers, the physicality to intimidate running backs in the box, and the football IQ to handle everything thrown on his plate.

At 6-1, 220 pounds, JOK noted most NFL teams have been projecting him as a linebacker, but the real opportunity here for the innovative is a Malcolm Jenkins-type defender who can seamlessly move all over the back seven like a chess piece.

To date, most draft experts have Owusu-Koramoah going in the back half of the first round with the outliers putting him at 10 to 15, the area the Eagles reside at No. 12 overall after dropping back in a trade with the Miami Dolphins last week.

You know the Eagles' history, however. 

The organization hasn't taken an off-ball LB in the first round of the draft since Jerry Robinson in 1979, and to call two generations a large sample size seems like underselling things.

Still, a lot is new in Philadelphia, starting with the coaching staff and the quarterback so why not embrace the evolution of football and the era of the positionless player?

It's something GM Howie Roseman at least began paying lip service to last year when he re-signed Jalen Mills.

VIDEO: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah talks Eagles and Philly

"You have to have some fierceness to you to sure in Philly," JOK said when asked about potentially playing with the Eagles. "If you win in Philly they love you and if you lose in Philly they hate you so you gotta be able to deal with that.

"When it comes to my background there's a lot of situations I had to persevere through and I think, first and foremost, my mentality prepares me more than some of the other players in terms of Philly."

Some of the other Gold helmets that could be in play for Philadelphia a little later in the draft include offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg and talented tight end Tommy Tremble.

Eichenberg is the latest legacy of the Fighting Irish OL factory which has produced three of the best in the NFL - Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin, Baltimore Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley, and Indianapolis left guard Quinton Nelson, all consistent All-Pro players.

If you want to add in Zack's brother Nick Martin, who just made the move from Houston to Las Vegas, and San Francisco RT Mike McGlinchey, a Philadelphia native, you could put together perhaps the best O-Line in the NFL with only ND products.

In Eichenberg, that could have someone tabbing the 6-foot-6, 302-pound, three-year starter at the end of the first round. If the Cleveland native falls to No. 37, though, the Eagles are a team that historically values offensive linemen, so you would have to put Eichenberg in play even though it's not an obvious need for Philadelphia.

"The biggest selling point for me is I'm a guy who's consistent. I'm a guy you can plug-in and play right now," Eichenberg said. "I'm not a guy who needs a lot of development. I think I've been coached well, Use my technique, my fundamentals very well.

"... A lot of people knock me for my athleticism. I mean offensive line, I'm not running a route or anything so I think I'm a guy who can go to the NFL and play right away."

When it comes to Day 3 of the draft, one of the diamonds in the rough due to circumstance could be Tommy Tremble, one of the more interesting prospects at the tight end position and someone who could be of keen interest for the Eagles after the expected trade of Zach Ertz.

A punishing blocker at 6-4 and 247 pounds, Tremble took a step back as a receiver in 2020 when freshman Michael Mayer turned into an immediate sensation. He has the athleticism, however, to turn into a legitimate two-way tight end and an excellent backup for Dallas Goedert.

If Mayer, a budding first-round pick in a few years, has chosen a destination other than South Bend, Tremble's numbers as a receiver would have almost certainly elevated him to a Day Two prospect.

"I see myself as someone who can do all three [things]," Tremble noted before adding to his toolbox. "I've lined up in the slot, out wide, on the wing, inside on the line, as a fullback. I feel like I'm a guy who can play all those positions."

The moral of this story for the Notre Dame haters is an easy one - forget the helmet and you'll fall for the players

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Thursday on The Middle with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, former Eagles OT Barrett Brooks streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and SportsMap Radio. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.