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Notre Dame Once Again A Pathway to the NFL

Photo: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Watching the NFL Draft became a painful endeavor for Irish fans after the departure of Notre Dame coaching legend, Lou Holtz. Notre Dame devolved into something of a run-on joke for NFL pundits who criticized everything ranging from the lack of production from Notre Dame alumni in the NFL to their increasingly dwindling number. And what made the criticisms really sting was their truthfulness. The thirteen NFL Drafts from 1998 to 2010 saw Notre Dame place only three players into the NFL as first round selections. To put this number in proper perspective, Lou Holtz had twelve first round draft ...

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Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame!

Pittsburgh Steelers former running back Jerome Bettis (left) and Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Raiders former receiver Tim Brown react during a press conference to introduce the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees at Symphony Hall. (Photo:  Kirby Lee // USA TODAY Sports)

Back in September I wrote that it has been long over due that Notre Dame legends Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  On Saturday night, both Irish greats had their long wait for election to the HOF end when the pair was officially named as members of the 2015 Hall of Fame Class. Brown and Bettis join a 2015 class that as includes the late Junior Seau, Charles Haley, Will Shields, and Mike Tinglehoff and executives Ron Wolf and Bill Polian (father of former Notre Dame assistant coach Brian Polian). Brown and ...

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Injuries, Martin’s Rise Highlight 2014 Notre Dame Rookies

Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin (70) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a disappointing 2013 season, Notre Dame saw its roster from a season ago produce 8 NFL Draft picks in the 2014 NFL Draft including five picks within the first three rounds alone.  Not bad for a team that played in the Pinstripe Bowl and won just 9 games.  A year later, the deep Notre Dam rookie class has produced two main storylines – the rapid rise of Zack Martin to being an elite NFL lineman and injuries.  Lots of them. By popular demand from our comments section, here is a full rundown of how all of the Notre Dame ...

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It’s Time for Tim Brown, Jerome Bettis to Head to Canton

Tim Brown - Notre Dame Great WR

The preliminary ballot for the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame was announced on earlier this week and five Notre Dame greats are on the among the 100+ candidates vying for the maximum of eight enshrinees.  Two Irish legends, however, stand out from the group and are long over due for a trip to Canton next summer – Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis. It’s head scratching to me that an all-time great like Tim Brown hasn’t already made the trip to Canton.  Competition is tough every year for those precious eight spots, but the man’s resume screams that of being a ...

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Chris Watt Selected #89 Overall by San Diego Chargers

Chris Watt - San Diego Chargers 3rd Round Pick

Everyone knew that Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt, and Zack Martin would be off the board in the first three rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft. Notre Dame got another somewhat surprise third round selection Friday night though when the San Diego Chargers selected Chris Watt #89 overall. Most mock drafts had Watt slated to be a fourth rounder, but the Chargers saw what Notre Dame fans have seen for the last four years – a damn good offensive lineman who has all the tools needed to be a long time starter in the NFL.  In our draft preview on Thursday ...

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Louis Nix’s Fall Ends at 83 Overall

Louis Nix's draft tumble stopped at #83 when the Houston Texans traded up to select him.  (Photo: Patrick Green/Icon SMI)

Louis Nix was once considered to be the highest rated Notre Dame player in the 2014 NFL Draft.  He ended up being the 4th Notre Dame player selected after falling all the way to midway through the 3rd round when the Houston Texans finally ended Nix’s draft free fall by trading up to select the jovial nose tackle. Up until recently, Nix was considering a potential first round pick but began to slip down draft boards after the season ended and ended up sliding all the way down to #83 overall where the Houston Texans may have gotten one of ...

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Troy Niklas Selected #52 by Arizona Cardinals

Troy Niklas - Notre Dame TE

Just as I put the finishing touches on the article of Stephon Tuitt being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers noting that Troy Niklas could snap Notre Dame’s streak of producing 1st or 2nd round tight ends, the Arizona Cardinals made that statement null and void by taking Niklas #52 overall. In a surprising move, Niklas finds himself off of the draft board before teammate Louis Nix – a player many felt would be the first, not fourth Notre Dame player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft back in December.  Instead, Zack Martin, Tuitt, and Niklas are now all off the ...

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Stephon Tuitt Drafted 46th Overall by Pittsburgh Steelers

Stephon Tuitt - Pittsbrugh SteelersStephon Tuitt - Pittsbrugh Steelers

Day one of the NFL Draft did not go how Stephon Tuitt or Louis Nix had planned.  Both went undrafted on Thursday after leaving Notre Dame with eligibility remaining.  Stephon Tuitt didn’t have to wait too long Friday night to hear his name be called after the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him 46th overall. Tuitt’s slide could end up helping him out in the long run as he landed with a franchise steeped in defensive tradition.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have always produced elite defensive talent and Tuitt now joins that lineage as he begins his professional career in a city where ...

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Zack Martin Selected #16 by Dallas Cowboys

Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) looks for a block during the football game between the Purdue Boilermakers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, IN. (Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon SMI)

Zack Martin became the highest drafted Notre Dame offensive lineman in 25 years on Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys selected him 16th overall in 2014 NFL Draft marking the third consecutive year Notre Dame produced a first round pick. NFL Network spent all 10 minutes leading up to Dallas’s pick debating whether or not the Cowboys should select Johnny Manzeil.  Instead, the Cowboys selected Martin to help protect incumbent and beleaguered starting quarterback Tony Romo. In Dallas, Martin has the opportunity to start from day one on a team that has been on the cusp on the playoffs the ...

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Your Notre Dame Guide to the 2014 NFL Draft

Zack Martin - Projected 1st Round NFL Draft pick

The long wait for a bevy of former Golden Domers is just about over with the 2014 NFL Draft kicking off live from New York later this evening.  Notre Dame has as many as three players in this year’s draft whose name could be called by Roger Goodell on the 1st night – a number Notre Dame hasn’t produced in over 20 years. Where will all of the eligible Notre Dame players land?  Here’s a rundown. Zack Martin (OT) – When the season ended, Martin wasn’t being talked about as a potential first round pick. Now that the draft is nearly ...

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NFL Draft a Turning Point for Notre Dame Football

Louis Nix - NFL Draft

With Notre Dame’s spring practice schedule in the books, and with summer’s football malaise approaching, the focus of all Fighting Irish fans should be on an event that is critical to the success of every major football program, and one that Notre Dame has struggled with for nearly two decades: the NFL Draft. What makes the University of Notre Dame unique is its sincere belief and success in educating its student athletes while also developing their athletic talents. While Notre Dame has never wavered in its ability to graduate its players, it cannot be denied that high school athletes dream ...

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Tate, Bruton Give Super Bowl an Irish Angle

A couple of recent Notre Dame greats square off in today’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.  Seattle’s Golden Tate, arguably one of the best wide receivers in Notre Dame history, and Denver’s David Bruton, a ball hawking safety for the Irish, represent Notre Dame tonight with one of them being crowned a Super Bowl champion. Tate and Bruton were teammates together at Notre Dame during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.  During that time Notre Dame won just 10 games combined, but since moving on to the NFL, both have become accustomed to winning.  Bruton has played ...

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Zack Martin Skyrocketing Up NFL Draft Boards at Senior Bowl

Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) is awarded the game's MVP trophy against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankees Stadium. Notre Dame won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one player greatly improving his draft stock down in Mobile, Alabama this week at the Senior Bowl, is Notre Dame offensive tackle and two time captain Zack Martin.  Notre Dame’s anchor on the offensive line for the last four years is skyrocketing up draft boards this week with a dominant performance thus far in practice. Here’s just a sample of the some of the rave reviews Martin has been getting so far this week. NFL.com’s Charles Davis writes that Martin could be the top tackle in this year’s draft: Notre Dame’s Zack Martin might be the best ...

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Concussions Could Force John Carlson To Retire

Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson (89) against the San Francisco 49ers at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the 49ers 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Former Notre Dame great tight end John Carlson may have to call it a career just a little over a year after signing a $25 million/5 year contract with the Minnesota Vikings after suffering another concussion.  At minimum, Carlson’s 2013 season is over and his future is very much uncertain. Carlson, one in a string of recent Notre Dame tight ends to be drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL, has had a successful NFL career playing for both the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings.  Originally a second round pick of the Seahawks in the 2008 NFL Draft, ...

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Michael Floyd’s NFL Star Rising Fast

Michael Floyd - Former Notre Dame WR

Over the last three weekends of action in the NFL, Notre Dame great Michael Floyd has gone from a second year player struggling to live up to the hype of a first round pick to one of the NFL’s fastest rising young stars at wide receivers thanks to a torrid 3-game outburst.  Such is life in the NFL.  Struggling second year player one minute, super sophomore the next. Through the first nine games of his second season with the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Floyd had caught just 36 passes for 464 yards.  Solid numbers, but not the kind of numbers the ...

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