The third Notre Dame player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft is tight end Troy Niklas. He goes surprisingly early to the Arizona Cardinals with the 52nd overall pick in the latter stages of the second round.
Niklas came to Notre Dame as a jumbo athlete, someone who had the size and ability to develop at a number of positions. As a true freshman he ultimately settled at outside linebacker and had a respectable 20 tackles with some decent playing time. After his first season a switch to tight end was made where he immediately moved up the depth chart.
He didn't put up huge stats in 2012 but he was a reliable blocker and solid backup to future 1st round pick Tyler Eifert. This past season as the tight end torch was passed to him, it was Niklas who came through with a gritty 32 receptions, 498 yards, and 5 touchdowns. At nearly 6-7 and 270 pounds his size his just about as good as it gets and was bound to push him towards the NFL as soon as he became a viable candidate in the draft.
Congratulations to Troy and his family on achieving this goal! You can read more about his pick at SB Nation's Arizona Cardinals blog Revenge of the Birds.