Well folks, the 2023 NFL Draft is upon us. With NIL and transfer portal chaos dominating the offseason headlines, the annual selection of college football stars for entry into the NFL seems to have taken a major backseat.
It’s really odd to see college football taking on more of an identity independent of the NFL in real time but something that I think we all have seen coming for a while now.
NFL Draft Combine invites for 2023 just went out to Notre Dame players and it’s looking to be an exciting year for those Irish fans who are also invested in the NFL side of things. Full transparency, I’m not a big NFL consumer. As I’ve mentioned before, I celebrated the Saints 2010 Super Bowl victory second-lining through Lafortune. But the entirety of my adolescence was marked by some not so pretty outings for my hometown franchise. The Mora-Ditka-Haslett years produced a lot of characters and storylines but not the type of winning that got me invested as a fan.
I do care a lot about the NFL Draft, though, mostly because it’s kind of the last goodbye for college football fanbases as they send players they’ve been following for years (maybe not so much the case anymore with the portal) off to whatever they’re professional careers have to offer.
It’s also an important marker of programs’ and head coaches’ overall success. So as we continue the march to the 2023 ceremony and the end of Marcus Freeman’s first full season at the helm, let’s take a look back at draft histories for recent, first year head coaches at Notre Dame.
This first installment will start with Ara Parseghian. Of recent Irish football head coaches, Ara had one of the longer tenures and began his run in the Fall ’94 season.
First Year Overview
The 1964 drafts were held in November of 1963 and the 1965 drafts following the conclusion of the Fall ’64 college season. Between the most recent Draft classes to his first season and his first set of classes, he was split even at 15 picks a piece.
One of the most interesting parts about Parseghian’s history of Draft classes was the presence of competing AFL and NFL Drafts. In the year prior, a slightly larger portion of the overall picks went to the AFL. For his first set of classes, the majority, 60% (9), went to the NFL.
During the 1964 NFL Draft, the 2nd round was the highest round for ND picks and the 17th round was the lowest. For Ara’s 1965 NFL Draft class, the 1st round was the highest round for ND picks and the 20th round was the lowest.
During the 1964 AFL Draft, the 2nd round was the highest round for ND picks and the 23rd round was the lowest. For Ara’s 1965 AFL Draft class, the 2nd round was the highest round for ND picks and the 15th round was the lowest.
Of the 1964 NFL Draft picks tackles and tight ends made up the bulk of the Irish draft picks. During the 1965 NFL Draft, linebackers and quarterbacks were the bulk of Notre Dame picks.
Of the 1964 AFL Draft picks tackles, tight ends and ends made up the bulk of the Irish draft picks. During the 1965 AFL Draft, Notre Dame picks were spread evenly across positions, including defensive backs, guards, halfbacks, linebackers, quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Team and Player Level Details
Between 1964 and 1965, Notre Dame sent multiple NFL picks to the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. For Parseghian’s first class, he sent two players, a quarterback and defensive back to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Between 1964 and 1965, Notre Dame sent multiple AFL picks to the Boston Patriots, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. For Parseghian’s first class, he sent two players, a halfback and wide receiver to the San Diego Chargers.
Stay tuned for additional breakdowns of recent first year head coaches and their draft histories.
Cheers and Go Irish!!