The Notre Dame Fighting Irish just hired a new offensive line coach, and no matter who they were going to get, they will be much less off than they were in 2017. Both Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey are headed to the NFL Draft, which is going to leave a big hole on the Irish offensive line, the offense, and the team.
Nelson and McGlinchey are both expected to be high draft picks, and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has them ranked in the top 35. These rankings are a players overall grade - regardless of position, and without projecting where they may be picked in the draft.
Quenton Nelson #2
Nelson lined up at left guard for the Irish this past season and that is where he projects at the next level. He has a thick, hulking build -- and he’s the nastiest offensive line prospect I’ve ever evaluated. In the run game, he is quick out of his stance and has the ability to completely wash opposing players down the line of scrimmage. He rolls his hips on contact, locks on with a powerful grip and doesn’t let up until he’s finished the job. Nelson is very effective when he works up to the second level on combo blocks and pulls. He can adjust in space and he blocks through the whistle consistently. In pass protection, Nelson possesses an immediate anchor vs. power rushers and effortlessly handles twists and stunts. Overall, Nelson has all of the tools to be the best run blocker in the NFL and he’ll be reliable in pass protection. He’s the easiest player to evaluate in this draft class.
Mike McGlinchey #35
McGlinchey started at right tackle and left tackle during his collegiate career. He has outstanding size for the position. In the passing game, he has average quickness out of his stance but uses his length to keep his chest clean and anchor vs. bull rushers. He does get too narrow at times, which causes him to struggle vs. both speed and counter rushers. I think he’ll benefit from a move back to the right side. In the run game, he does a good job of getting underneath opponents and generating movement at the point of attack. He’s very aware vs. twists and stunts. McGlinchey had some games where he struggled (see: Miami), but he has all of the desired traits to emerge as a quality starting right tackle at the next level.
More and more mock drafts are starting to accumulate, but the general consensus is that Nelson won't make it out of the Top 10, and McGlinchey should be picked on day one.
There is still plenty of time between now and the draft, and we still have the NFL Combine, Notre Dame Pro day, and personal workout sessions. It's still hard to say how this whole thing will shake out.