The Eligible Draftees
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have 10 players looking to get picked in the 2023 NFL Draft. A big part of the draft will obviously be the NFL Combine and the Pro Days. Those dates are some time away, so I love to speculate before there are big risers and fallers based on measurements and times. The Fighting Irish are coming off of a very light year, having only 2 players drafted a year ago, after having 8 drafted in 2021. They will certainly surpass that this year. The following players have Entered their names into the draft this year.
Michael Mayer - TE
Isaiah Foskey - DL
Jarrett Patterson - OL
Brandon Joseph - DB
Jayson Ademilola - DL
Justin Ademilola - DL
Chris Smith - DL
Bo Bauer - LB/Special Teams
Josh Lugg - OL
Tariq Bracy - DB
Sure Things/Round Prediction
The freak himself. Look for Michael Mayer to go in Round 1. He leaves Notre Dame as one of, if not the best TE in school history. He is slotted as a round 1 pick in nearly every mock draft. Simply, do not overthink this one. He is strong, has elite hands, is a great blocker, a team first guy, and a sure fire round 1 guy. The only thing that could make him slip is an awful combine or an injury.
Prediction: Round 1
Another freak who had himself a very solid year. Foskey leaves ND as the all-time sack leader and clearly has round one talent, but didn’t dominate all year to guarantee him a spot. An elite combine performance could vault him into the first round, but I see a great, but not elite workout coming.
Prediction: Round 2
Patterson has the benefit of playing guard, tackle, and center at the college level. This Swiss Army knife player guarantees (outside of injury) that he is a valuable roster spot as he can be slotted in everywhere. He has tons of experience and is a proven commodity. Injury history will definitely be a concern and medicals will be a big part of the combine. He will move well and show great in shorts. He has been given mid-round grades and I think he has the full Harry Heistand stamp of approval, which has a history of guys sticking and playing at a high level.
Prediction: Round 4
The Probably’s/Round Prediction
Jayson has been on the field for the Irish since the 2018 season. He is a seasoned veteran leader who will almost certainly stick on a NFL roster. The only way I could see him slipping is an injury or a bad pro day. I think he’d be a sure fire draft pick if he was in the combine, so he will not get as much exposure.
Prediction: Round 5
Joseph was considered by most coming into this year as a first or second round pick. He was one of the top safeties in 2020, then really solid in 2021, and honestly pretty mediocre in 2022. He had good coverage throughout the year, but did not make the plays everyone was expecting. He is still a household name and has a lot of hype around him. He will get drafted, possibly higher than I think he should.
Prediction: Round 4
Lugg started games back in 2019, and had a pretty up-and-down career. He battled some back issues/stiffness, which seemed to drastically improve as the year wore on. He is someone who needed a 6th year to ensure he got his shot in the NFL draft this year. Harry Heistand products are always held in high regard, and I think someone takes a shot at Lugg late.
Prediction: Round 6
Justin should and will make an NFL roster. He does not have the status as his brother, Jayson, but was almost more of a playmaker at times. I think being a PFA will benefit him, as he will be able to better pick a fit for himself.
Bracy is interesting. He has had some low lows but had a very good year. He has a ton of great tape as a nickel corner who is a physical tackler. This is a very necessary commodity in the NFL and he has done it at a high level. The biggest thing for him will be how he tests. If he dips below the 4.5 range in the 40, he should get picked up. If not, priority free agent.
Prediction: Round 7
Bauer’s biggest question mark will be his health. If he is healthy enough to play, he may have the longest career of anyone on this list. Bauer is one of the top special teams players in all of college football and should make a lot of money playing in the NFL if he stays healthy. I doubt a team would draft him, but he will land in a great spot and I predict he’s on an active roster next year
Smith had a solid year for the Irish. He filled in nicely but didn’t do enough to warrant a team drafting him. He may be able to find himself a tryout and should hope to stick around on a practice squad. If not, he has a Harvard and Notre Dame degree to fall back on.
Let’s embrace debate below!