NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock offered his take recently on the eight Notre Dame Fighting Irish players he saw compete at the university’s Pro Day.
Mayock, who used to be a color commentator for Notre Dame games on NBC, told us who is going to struggle at the next level, who he’s rooting for to succeed and who may be soon looking for work off the gridiron.
The transcript of Mayock’s comments are below the video. He spoke about long snapper Scott Daly, running back Tarean Folston, tight end Chase Hounshell, defensive tackle Jarron Jones, cornerback Cole Luke, linebacker James Onwualu, defensive end Isaac Rochell and safety Avery Sebastian.
“When he was a freshman here and I was doing the games, I thought he had a little bit of a natural feel for running back. Some guys get it. They don’t have to think it. They’re just natural. I thought he had some of that.
“Obviously, he got hurt — I think it was week one against Texas in ’15, if I remember correctly. [He] came back this past year, somewhat mixed results.
“He came out today. I was hoping he would really burst a little bit today. He was 5-foot-9, 199 [pounds]. I had him in 4.77 and 4.79 [seconds] in his 40 [yard dash], which is not good for a running back.
“So, he’s going to struggle. He’s not going to get drafted. He’s going to have to be a priority free agent in a camp and he’s going to have to show people he can catch the football — which I think he can — and he’s going to have to play special teams. Right now, it’s a little bit of a long shot for him. But I hope he’ll show up and get an opportunity.”
“He was 6-foot-4, 273 [pounds] today, down seven pounds from the Combine. Not able to work out because of the hamstring he pulled in the Combine.
“Coaches and scouts like him because he works. He’s got a long body. He can play defensive end in your base package. Some teams may even kick him in on sub packages. But he’s a worker bee. He’s a long body, good size, worker and those guys typically play in the league for a while. So I’m rooting for Isaac Rochell.”
“Mixed opinions around the league on Jarron. I mean, you look at him and he’s 6-foot-5 1/2, 310 pounds. He’s got really long arms, which is important in a defensive line. And he flashes on tape. And if he could have replicated the way he played against Miami every week, we’d be talking about him a different way today. But he didn’t.
“He’s a highly inconsistent player that flashes on tape. He flashes in his workout. He didn’t run well today. I had him in 5.45 [seconds] in his 40 [yard dash], which is worse than he did at the Combine.
“The pro scouts worked him out. The defensive line coaches worked him out. It was tough for him because he was by himself. Usually, you like to have three or four guys rotating in. So he was gassed today.
“He’ll be drafted. He’s probably going to be a five technique for one of those teams. He’s got a body that — he looks a little like Stephon Tuitt as far as body is concerned. He just doesn’t have the consistency yet of a Stephon Tuitt.”
“He’s one of my favorites this year. I watched him closely at the East-West game. And the East-West game is more for the mid- to late-round and free agent guys. He came in like it was a job interview. And he went to work every day and he did it the right way.
“I remember talking to him on the practice field before or after a practice and just being impressed with the kid. That’s important also.
“So he presents well. He plays hard. What’s his fit in the NFL? He probably won’t get drafted. If he does, it will be late — sixth, seventh round. But if he doesn’t get drafted, I still think he’s going to make a team. The reason is: I think he’ll be a core special teams player. And I think he can play sub linebacker. I think he’s the kind of guy that one way or another, he’s going to get into camp and stick.”
“In the NFL, the more you can do — if you’re not a top first, second, third round pick they’re hoping will start day one, you’re going to have to be a special teams player. And that’s where the safeties and linebackers really come into play. So Onwualu is 228 pounds. He ran in the mid-4.7s, which I was happy with today. He jumped 36 inches, which surprised me, which is really good.
“So, he’s going to get on a practice field and in a preseason game. And what he’s going to have to do is buy into the fact that his future is tied to his performance on special teams. And what happens with these guys is: If they can string two or three years together as good special teams players, they often work their way into the lineup. They buy themselves time to develop into a good linebacker.”
“Cole Luke was 5-foot-11, 198 [pounds] today. I was hoping to see him run faster. I had him at 4.61 and 4.63 [seconds]. I was hoping he’d at least be 4.55 or better. I thought he worked out well. I think he’s got some quickness to him. So I think he’s quicker than he is fast.
“Again, will he get drafted? Borderline. Sixth or seventh round at best, probably a priority free agent. But again, he’s going to have to get into camp, play special teams and compete.”
“I haven’t seen any of his tape, because he was a transfer this year [sic] and he had the injury bug. I was anxious to watch him. He’s really rocked up, got a great build. But I had him at 4.9 and 4.88 [seconds] which, for a defensive back, doesn’t often translate to the NFL.
“I was sitting with the scouts when we were timing everybody and they were disappointed in that time.”
“Another guy that obviously spent his last year at Ohio State. [He] didn’t play much for them at all. He came back today — 6-foot-4 1/2, 245 [pounds]. Ran in the 5 [second] range. I think he’ll get a shot in camp. Really, what he’s going to have to do is block people. He’s really going to have to be physical.”
“It’s interesting. I don’t evaluate long snappers or kickers, because that would be like me evaluating Tiger Woods’ golf swing. I don’t understand the whole program. I talk to my special teams buddies about it.
“But if you go back to — one of my Boston College teammates was a guy named Steve DeOssie, who played for the Giants. His son, Zak, played at Brown University and has played for the Giants for the last 8 or 10 years as a long snapper only. He’s one of those guys that leads the team in tackles from long snapping.
“Daly’s got the size. He’s 250 pounds. He ran OK - 5.05, 5.08 [seconds] in that area. So if you can be a consistent long snapper, you can play a lot of years in this league and have a pretty good living.”