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NFL DRAFT 2020: A look at Notre Dame safety Jalen Elliott

Did his combine seal his fate?

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

We are on the cusp of the 2020 NFL Draft, and this will be an unusual year to say the least. Regardless of the manner of the draft, we are still expecting a handful of former Notre Dame Fighting Irish players to be drafted — and another handful to become UDFAs.

We’re going to take a quick look at both handfuls over the next whatever hours, as we get ready for the big weekend ahead.

Jalen Elliott — SAFETY

Elliott was a 3-Star athlete coming out of high school in Virginia and chose the Irish over a long list of ACC and SEC schools. He mostly played QB during his prep years, and although the Irish recruited him as a safety, for a short time there was talk of him being a receiver. As a freshman in 2016, Elliott was needed in the defensive backfield (along with a handful of other freshmen) and he saw considerable minutes.

Jalen developed into a starter for the Irish in 2017, and in 2018 he made a big splash alongside Alohi Gilman. Over the course of his junior and senior years, Elliott amassed 116 tackles and 6 interceptions. Just as important was Elliott’s role as a team leader in those two years and captain in 2019.

How does he fit in the NFL?

Elliott has good size at 6’1” and 205 pounds and has enough athleticism to be a playmaker on the field. Special teams will certainly be what will happen first for Elliott, and with his work ethic and drive, he can use that to make an NFL team. He’ll have to improve his ball skills, but he will be looked at to possibly get work as a nickel as well as at safety.

Where does he go?

With his film and a very solid Senior Bowl week performance, Elliott had worked himself into a lot of mock drafts in the 5th round. Jalen’s 4.8 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine, however, put his draft status in serious jeopardy. During Elliott’s taped pro day performance, he ran a 4.4 40 time according to a stop watch — but how seriously those in the NFL take those times is another matter.


Personal Opinion

I really loved Jalen during his time in South Bend. He became a strong leader over time and I always respected the baptism by fire that he went through in 2016. I always saw him as a 5th round selection, but once his poor combine performance came to light, his other flaws were magnified — justified or not