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NFL Draft 2018: Matt Miller Says Five Notre Dame Fighting Irish Will Be Drafted This Year

Bleacher Report’s draft expert weighs in on futures of Nelson, McGlinchey, Adams, Smythe and St. Brown

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Notre Dame Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller believes Quenton Nelson is a top 10 pick, Mike McGlinchey is a first rounder and that three other Notre Dame Fighting Irish football players will hear their names called before the 2018 NFL Draft concludes.

Miller released his first seven-round mock draft Monday, which included the Chicago Bears taking a different offensive lineman than the draft analyst had predicted just three weeks ago. The new mock has Nelson going No. 8 to the Monsters of Midway, instead of Texas Longhorns tackle Connor Williams. Williams is now projected to go No. 12 to the Cincinnati Bengals, which was Nelson’s spot in Miller’s Jan. 15 mock.

Miller said he now believes Nelson will follow his former offensive line coach, Harry Hiestand, to the Windy City:

Nelson is a violent, brutal blocker, but he’s also a fluid athlete with the movement skills to pull, trap and keep pace with speedy pass-rushers on the interior. Nelson isn’t like anyone else in the NFL currently. He’s meaner than Zack Martin and more athletic than Brandon Scherff. Plug him in at left guard, though, and the entire Bears offensive line is suddenly better.

Adding Nelson means less work for Cody Whitehair at center and for Kyle Long at right guard. The balance and power in the middle of the line also means a better life for Mitchell Trubisky and Jordan Howard. So while this isn’t the most exciting pick on paper, it’s one Bears fans would embrace in due time.

McGlinchey, meanwhile, has slipped from the Buffalo Bills — who have two consecutive picks at No. 21 & No. 22 — to No. 29, a selection owned by the AFC runner-up Jacksonville Jaguars.

Miller wrote:

Like the Buffalo Bills at picks No. 21 and 22, the Jacksonville Jaguars played themselves out of filling the team’s biggest need. Outside of reaching for a quarterback, Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell must look to other values and focus on improving other areas of the roster instead of selecting a passer to challenge and/or replace Blake Bortles.

Looking at the board, Mike McGlinchey stands out as a Coughlin/Caldwell-type pick given his production at a major college and his high character off the field. You’ll notice the Jaguars rarely use early picks on small-school players and value well-coached college players. McGlinchey fits the bill as the team’s type and fills a need as a plug-and-play right tackle.

Miller also identified three other Notre Dame players who he believes will get drafted. The analyst has the Seattle Seahawks selecting Josh Adams with their fourth round pick, reuniting the Warrington, Pa. product with his freshman year partner in the backfield, C.J. Prosise.

Tight end Durham Smythe is slotted as the New York Giants’ 7th round pick (No. 194 overall); Miller said compensatory picks, which have not yet been announced, will likely cause certain players to get drafted higher.

Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who is forgoing his senior year in order to be drafted, is Miller’s second-to-last selection. He would be the Cincinnati Bengals’ 7th round pick, No. 223 overall.

The NFL Combine will be held Feb. 27 to March 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The full list of invitees should be made public within the next 10 days.

The free agency period will begin March 14 and the NFL Draft will be held April 26 to 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.