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Brady Quinn Weighs In On 2016 NFL Draft, Notre Dame's QB Battle, And The Roll Over Hunger Challenge

One Foot Down recently chatted with former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn about everything from the NFL Draft to why you should support your pets in May.

Brady Quinn pointed to Brian Kelly's recruiting and player development as reasons for why Notre Dame had two players drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Brady Quinn pointed to Brian Kelly's recruiting and player development as reasons for why Notre Dame had two players drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview with One Foot Down, former Notre Dame and NFL quarterback Brady Quinn weighed in on the 2016 NFL Draft, his outlook on the football team Notre Dame has coming back, and some advocacy work for which he wants help from Notre Dame fans.

At the time of our phone conversation, Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley had been taken sixth by the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans had taken wide receiver Will Fuller in the first round of the NFL Draft. Five Notre Dame players have come off the board since, including Jaylon Smith in a surprising second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys.

"It just goes to show you the job that Brian Kelly has done recruiting," Quinn said. "Two first-round picks, and it really should be three without the injury to Jaylon Smith, but that’s just where Notre Dame is at now. They’re getting a ton of talent and they’re developing that talent. This is one of the most talented classes Notre Dame has had in terms of the draft, and I think you’ve got to give credit to the coaching staff for that."

Quinn went on to say that Kelly told him Irish players are peaking at the right time, which is to say at the end of their college careers.

Case in point might be C.J. Prosise, who went into his final season as the third running back on the depth chart, but who has now been drafted in the third round by a franchise that has played in two out of the last three Super Bowls.

I asked Quinn to weigh in on Notre Dame’s current quarterback battle between DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire, and his answer surprised me.

"I’ll be curious to see which direction they go," Quinn said. "It’s always tough when you’ve got two talented guys who are very deserving."

Quinn went on to compare Notre Dame’s current situation to Ohio State’s in 2015 with DeShone Kizer being a little like Cardale Jones and Malik Zaire being the J.T. Barrett.

"There’s a reason why Malik was the starter at the beginning of last season," Quinn said. "He has the higher ceiling. He’s the guy who can really provide dynamic plays both with throws down the field but also in the running game. You don’t have Will Fuller anymore. You don’t have Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, you don't have Nick Martin at center. If there are protection issues, you want to have the guy out there who’s a little better of a runner, and that’s Malik Zaire."

Brady Quinn audio

To be fair, Quinn also admitted that he knows Zaire better than Kizer.

What about the team’s outlook for 2016?

"I don’t know that they’ll have as good of a season," Quinn admitted. "But we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe I’m wrong."

Quinn also reflected back on his own time at Notre Dame:

"People always think that for former players it’s all about what happens on the field. To me, the memories that stick out are the ones with the guys, whether hanging out before games and getting ready or at training camp or walking out of the tunnel for the first time. The game’s the game; there are always going to be two-minute drives and other things that are kind of fun, but it’s the memories of the guys that I’m still close with now; those are the memories that stick out more than anything else.

You will probably see and hear more from Quinn in the upcoming month for reasons that have nothing to do with football. He and his wife, Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone Quinn, are teaming up with Purina to celebrate National Pet Month by kicking off the Roll Over Hunger Challenge. Notre Dame fans and other pet lovers can participate by uploading a photo or video of their pets or themselves rolling over to and sharing their photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RollOverHunger.

For every photo or video uploaded during the month of May, Purina will donate $2 to the Petfinder Foundation. The money raised will help animal shelters across the country that struggle to provide a consistent diet for the pets in their care. Purina kicked off the initiative on Friday, April 29, with the release of a public service announcement that features the Quinn’s and their two dogs, Boss and Bella.

"Alicia and I have always been pet lovers," Quinn said. "This really aligns with a lot of our passions. We’ve been really blessed with sports and other things, and we want to make sure that we’re able to give back. There are a lot of great causes out there, and this is one of them."