New York, NY (UHND.com) — On day one of the NFL Draft, Notre Dame tight end Anthony Fasano went to a team coached by one of Charlie Weis’ NFL mentors in Bill Parcells. On day two of the draft, Notre Dame offensive linemen Dan Stevenson went to another of Weis’ mentors with the New England Patriots and Bill Belicheck drafting him with the 205th overall pick in the 6th round.
Stevenson, a three year starter for the Irish, will move into a familiar system when he reports to Charlie Weis’ old team. He started off his career as a tackle, but moved inside to guard in 2003 and became a full time starter for the final 34 games of his Notre Dame career.
He isn’t a massive guard at around 290 pounds, but he has excellent technique and got some excellent coaching this past season under offensive line coach John Latina. He can both run and pass block well and can become a solid contributor for the Patriots once he adjusts to the size of NFL defensive linemen.
The Weis-NFL connection was evident again with this pick. Stevenson was projected by some to be a late round pick or undrafted free agent, but ended up with the Patriots in the early 6th round.
While with the Patriots, Weis preferred to use smaller, more athletic offensive linemen and Stevenson fits the bill.
In recent years offensive linemen like Sean Mahan, Jordan Black, and Brennan Curtain have had success as late round picks and Stevenson should see similar success.
Other Domers Sign Free Agent Deals
Notre Dame had just three draft picks this year in Fasano, Stovall, and Stevenson, but another six signed free agent deals shortly after the Draft. Brandon Hoyte (Colts), DJ Fitzpatrick (Jets), Mark Levoir (Bears), Matt Shelton (Patriots), Rashon Powers-Neal (Broncos), and Corey Mays (Patriots) all signed deals Sunday night.
A few observations on these signings… Powers-Neal to the Broncos is about the best outcome he could have hoped for. Scouts labeled him a tweaner between fullback and halfback and if there’s anyone who knows how to use running backs, its Mike Shanahan and the Broncos.
Mark Levoir should make the Bears roster and probably should have been drafted. He’s a gifted athlete and should be able to find a spot at least on the Bears practice squad.
The Patriots signed two more Irish players in Shelton and Mays. Mays could become a special teams contributor, but for Shelton to make the Patriots roster he’s going to have to show some return ability.