I watched every minute of the NFL Draft this year while covering the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Whether it was on the television or streamed to my phone — it was absorbed by my eyeballs and my brain (which is now mush). Quite frankly, I would never do that again if I didn’t
have to love you all. Also, for the record, I really REALLY miss the old format.
My thoughts are as scrambled as the eggs you’re probably eating right now, so bear with me as I finish this cycle.
SUPERCHARGE MY HEART
I’m pretty sure I just fell in love with the Los Angeles Chargers, or as Nina put it... Notre Dame du LAC. I was a huge advocate for Jerry Tillery and went 1⁄2 nuts as I battled the ridiculous narrative about him and his perceived lack of love for football or character issues — or whatever other bullshit his way. It was all worth it as his name was called in the first round of the draft. Tillery was about to be reunited with Isaac Rochell, and that in itself was good enough for me.
And then it got better.
If LA was looking for more brownie points from Notre Dame fans, they hit the jackpot with Drue Tranquill: Captain and all-around awesome guy. He’s also a really good football player that kicked ass at the combine. Tranquill went from being a Charger in high school (Carroll HS) that was committed to the Purdue Boilermakers, to being a professional Charger via Notre Dame.
But wait... there’s more. LA thought why not get ANOTHER Notre Dame captain, and they signed Tyler Newsome as an UDFA. That’s living life to its fullest right there.
LA gets three fan favorites and probably quite a few more fans from the midwest. Well done.
Watching Julian Love’s fall in the draft was tough on the heart. We all know how special he is, and I was one of the most vocal writers in the country that called out the injustice of Love not winning the Thorpe Award (Translation: tweet tirades backed with facts only). Still, we have had many weeks to absorb the constant chatter that Love would be, at best, the 4th cornerback drafted.
It actually took much longer than that, and Love dropped to the 3rd day. Finally, the New York Giants put his name on the pick card and the wait was over. Love will have a big chance to play in New York, and he will also have a chance to compete against the actual Thorpe winner and new teammate, DeAndre Baker from the Georgia Bulldogs.
Seriously... the same team that everyone laughed at for picking Daniel Jones with the #6 overall pick, is the same team that has the Thorpe winner and fellow finalist.
TAKING A LEAP
Most fans knew that Dexter Williams wouldn’t be picked until the 3rd day, but we also knew that whoever picked Deuce would get one of the best backs in the draft. Two things held Dexter back and it wasn’t his suspension or pass-blocking — his slower than expected 40 yard dash and his overall lack of skill in the passing game. Put the rock in his hand though... and watch him run to daylight.
The Green Bay Packers selected one draft dropper from South Bend in the 6th round last year in Equanimeous St. Brown, and got another this year with Williams. In them, the Packers have two of the most athletic players the Irish have had on offense over the last decade, and will look to maximize all that they bring to the table.
There will be another reunion similar to the one in Los Angeles with DeShone Kizer also on the team. All three will try, in one way or another, to help Aaron Rodgers and the offense compete in the competitive NFC North.
RAIDING THE PANTRY
Add Te’von Coney’s name to the list of frustrations on draft day three. While Irish fans didn’t have to wait long for Julian Love on Saturday, we gasped at every pick NOT named Coney. Fair or unfair, Coney is labeled as a 3 down ILB, and this league places very little value on those type of players in the draft — maybe less than any other position not named kicker or punter.
West Virginia's David Long is the 20th linebacker off the board.— Jude (@andrewwinn) April 27, 2019
Twenty teams thought they found a linebacker better than Te'von Coney.
That *feels* insane to me. #NDFB
Still... it’s hard to have witnessed the carnage Coney caused on the field over the last couple of years and think that he isn’t valued by NFL teams — infinitely harder on Coney I’m sure.
This isn’t the worst thing, however. Coney is actually better off not being drafted and being able to somewhat pick his best spot. That has already been done as the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden brought him on as a UDFA. Gruden got a close look at Coney at the Senior Bowl and must have liked what he saw.
I’ll say this... I rather a player have a chip on his shoulder than live in a world of pressure.
The Raiders also signed Nick Coleman as an UDFA, and with his athleticism — perhaps he will be able to create a spot on special teams.
Many thought Miles Boykin may have been making a mistake by leaving Notre Dame with a year of eligibility on the table, but with an incredible combine, he may have been right all along. The Baltimore Ravens traded up to get Boykin in the 3rd round, so that has to feel pretty good.
With Boykin’s size, demeanor, and speed — he should be a widely coveted player in the NFL. He showed up in Notre Dame’s biggest games and made plays which is almost as important as all of his stunning combine numbers.
The Ravens want weapons for Lamar Jackson, and Boykin joins Marquise Brown from the Oklahoma Sooners in that quest.
It’s a solid position to be in for Miles, and validation for his decision. Now he just needs to validate it on the field.
THE STREAK LIVES
The New Orleans Saints took Alize Mack in the 7th round, and there was a deep sigh of relief from the football offices at Notre Dame.
Despite most of the pre-draft chatter saying that Mack would be an UDFA, he proved them wrong. Still... it was weird to see a guy that was such a massive recruiting win for Tight End U, get drafted behind a LONG list of other tight ends.
He will have that chip on his shoulder that we all love, plus an offensive system that could work very much in his favor as he will compete for a spot on the roster.
Good for Alize.
That’s about all I have for now (and the foreseeable future). I can’t stress enough how much I miss the old way the draft was handled, but I’m just tilting at windmills there.
This effectively ends the 2018/2019 college football cycle, and I need some sleep. As Dexter would say... [insert pic of me running away from you throwing up a peace sign] DEUCES.