2010 Notre Dame Draft Preview

Kyle McCarthy - Notre Dame S
Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate have generated the most pre-draft buzz, but some other former Notre Dame players such as Kyle McCarthy should hear their name announced during this weekend's draft as well. (Photo - IconSMI)

The NFL Draft kicks off later tonight with the first round being broadcast in prime time for the first time ever.  Here’s a preview of where some former Notre Dame players, including players not named Clausen and Tate, could end up.

Jimmy Clausen – 1st Round

There isn’t a more discussed player in the first round this year than Clausen. No one seems to really have a handle for where he is going and at this rate, he will probably land some place people aren’t really talking about right now. I don’t think the Bills are going to take him. Unless Cleveland is doing one hell of a job protecting their hand, it doesn’t look like the Browns will take him either.

With two picks in the first round, I still think the 49ers make a lot of sense for Clausen. Alex Smith looked solid at times down the stretch last year, but he also did a lot of his damage against some pretty weak defenses. The Niners have a strong defense in place, some talented young receivers led by Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, and strong running game.

Other than the 49ers, I think the Seahawks make sense as well. Clausen getting coached by Pete Carroll would certainly make for some interesting headlines too.

A dark horse in the race could be the Chiefs if Clausen tumbles ala Brady Quinn for a couple of reasons. The Chiefs are looking to trade down and have been linked to the Eagles as a trade partner. Philly owns the 24th pick in the first round right now. Should Clausen really tumble down the first draft, the Chiefs could be tempted to draft their new offensive coordinators prized pupil considering the struggles Matt Cassell had in his first season as their QB. Kansas City could be tempted to trade back into the first round should Clausen fall into the 20’s as well.

Another intriguing option for Clausen would be Pittsburgh. There seems to be a lot of smoke behind the Ben Rothlisberger trade rumors in the wake of his off-field troubles. If the Steelers are in the market for a quarterback, they could be in play for Clausen at #18.

Other options include Oakland at #8 – good luck predicting what Al Davis will do – and Jacksonville at #10, but they seem likely to wait and draft Tim Tebow. I don’t but the notion that Clausen could fall to the second round though. If he drops out of the teens, someone will trade up for him.

Golden Tate – Late 1st/ Early 2nd Second

There hasn’t been as much talk about Golden Tate as there has been Clausen, but his possible destinations are just as plentiful at this point. Depending on what the Steelers do at the quarterback position, they could be in play for Tate at #18. The Steelers worked Tate out recently and are in need of a big play receiver after trading Santonio Holmes leaving them with an aging, yet still very effective Hines Ward to lead their receiving corps.

Before trading for Anquan Boldin, the Ravens looked to be a team in the mix for a wide receiver, but after acquiring the disgruntled receiver from Arizona they are off the market . Arizona however, could be in the market for a receiver to go team with Larry Fitzgerald if they aren’t confident that Steve Breaston can be an effective second option in their offense.

The Jets were linked to Tate early on, but their acquisition of Santonio Holmes would figure to take them out of the market. Eric Hansen mentioned the other day in a chat for the South Bend Tirbune that he is hearing the Colts would love to take Tate if he is still there when they pick 31st.

If Tate makes it out of the first round, there are plenty of teams that could be looking for help at wide receiver in the second. Atlanta, Jacksonville, Denver (if they don’t take Dez Bryant in the first round), Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Carolina, and even New England could all be tempted to select Tate if he is available when they pick in the first round.

Sam Young – 5th/6th Round

After the big two, it’s anyone’s guess which Notre Dame player will be selected next. Young, despite his struggles with consistency, seems like a good bet because of his sheer size. You can’t teach the kind of size Young has and there is probably an offensive line coach or two out there who see the potential that Young has that wasn’t fully developed at Notre Dame.

Young could also benefit from the John Sullivan-effect. Sullivan had a disappointing end to his career at Notre Dame, was drafted late, and then ended up as the starting center all season long for the Vikings in just his second season.

Because of his size, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone reached up and grabbed Young in the late 5th round. Look for a team that misses out on one of the elite tackles in the draft to take a chance on Young – possibly Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Green Bay, Baltimore, Miami, or Arizona.

Kyle McCarthy – 5th/6th Round

McCarthy put on an impressive performance at the combine that should have eliminated some concerns about his speed, but as the best performer on a truly awful defense, he will have a tough time getting selected any higher than the 5th round.

Most projections have him going later, but when teams are assessing their draft boards and look at McCarthy’s combine performance, combined with the stats he compiled at Notre Dame over the past two seasons, someone will grab him before then.

Look for McCarthy to land with a team that misses out on one of the top safeties in the draft such as Philadelphia, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Houston, Cincinnati, or New Orleans.

Whoever gets McCarthy could end up with a steal. In the right defense, he has the ability to step in and possibly make an impact early.

Eric Olsen – 6th/7th/Free Agent

There hasn’t been much buzz at all regarding Olsen leading up to the draft. Personally, I always thought that Olsen was the most consistent offensive lineman over the last few years for Notre Dame and would take a chance on him for his versatility alone. After playing three years at guard, he switched to center his senior season and performed well.

If he doesn’t get selected, he will be one of the first undrafted free agents off the board because of that versatility.

After Olsen, there probably isn’t any other Notre Dame player who has a great chance of getting drafted. Sergio Brown and James Aldridge will both probably get signed as undrafted free agents. Brown has some ridiculous athleticism, but is still very raw and needs work in coverage. Aldridge ran well at Notre Dame’s pro day and will find himself in someone’s training camp. For his sake, I’d love to see Aldrdige land in a place like Washington where he could work with Mike Shanahan – a coach who has a track record of taking late round/free agent running backs and turning them into pretty good NFL players.

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  1. quinn’s struggle at cleveland hurt jimmy too. don’t get me wrong, i think and hope jimmy will succeed wherever he goes, but if you look at both of them, similar numbers, size, arm strength and both came from weis’ offense. actually, quinn had better size, intelligence, arm strength, and won more games, but jimmy was on pace for better stats. anyway, quinn’s demise made people question if jimmy is talented or just benefited from a good offensive system.

    on another note, i think tom jackson hit it dead on when he said that you can’t lead a team from the sidelines. wtf was mcdaniels thinking?

  2. Jimmy could have been the face of college football next year as he was slinging touchdowns in Kelly’s offense. Could have been the QB to lead the Irish to a possible BCS win and could have broken all of Brady’s records. Probably a Top 10 pick for sure.

    Instead, he is the most “Pro Ready” QB and has fallen into the 2nd round. This wouldn’t be so bad if Tebow would not have been drafted. Why would a team trade for Brady Quinn and then use their 1st round pick on a QB project?

    Jimmy has lost a lot of money and I think the biggest reason is that ND didn’t win. He needed a year where they won a lot of games because 3-9, 7-6, and 6-6 do not cut it. If ND would have won, we would not be hearing about his attitude and leadership skills.

    I’m hoping Minnesota takes him so he can learn from Favre and be on a good team from the start.

  3. JC is in the second round. Good. I will miss him and thought he was a good college player who had a lousy offensive line. But, the hype was unreal. If he were the best quarterback in the draft he would have won a decent bowl game.

    And, besides, I am bitter that he and Tate left early. It’s unfortunate because ND is a place no one should take for granted.

    1. “If he were the best quarterback in the draft he would have won a decent bowl game.”

      Yeah cause it was Jimmy’s fault we could not hold anyone except Nevada under 30.

      1. How about 3-9? Was that all defense, too? The guy had three years in South Bend. If he were “all that,” he would have had a winning season or two. This is true especially given the “schedule for success,” approach the Irish have taken in the last several years.

        He may be a good pro. As Berman and the gang noted, almost everyone had a shot at Dan Marino and everyone had a chance to pick up Tom Brady, too. There are other examples of QBs going in the 2-3 rounds.

        But, as a college quarterback and as a leader, Clausen was decent. He wasn’t incredible. You put Jimmy Clausen at Arkansas and no one would have heard of him.

        He needed another year of school.

      2. I thought Clausen failed to match the hype as well – but to say no one would have heard of him if he went to Arkansas is just incredibly damned stupid.

        A. Arkansas is a very well known school.
        B. Clausen was a ***** star prospect, arguably the biggest coming out of HS – the hype would have followed him wherever he went…not just because he went to ND (which btw, the ND luster has obviously fallen off…as evidenced by the fact that Clausen wasn’t taken in the 1st round – and ND as a whole had no 1st round picks for another year…being good at ND isn’t enough to get you drafted highly anymore)

  4. Look at what teams are picking. A lot of guys in the trenches.
    Only took about 40 years for the NFL GMs to realize that your guys
    in the trenches can make or break the success of a team.

    Actually it may be the sophistication of offensive and defensive schemes. Perhaps, becuase the schemes themselves are elaborate, a coach can plug in skill guy one or skill guy two, etc. Perhaps its the character of the player in the skills position that matters more now. And because of that, the shift in round one is to get the linemen and defensive players who might have been left to later rounds in prior years.

    USC’s hotshot QBs aren’t exactly team leaders. Quinn is still looking for a home. Is Vince Young working out or not at Tennessee? When Brett Favre is still being asked to play over these football freak kids, you gotta wonder.

    Hey did anyone notice Pete the Cheat didn’t pick any of his players yet?

    1. If someone would have told me that JC would fall to the 2nd round I would have laughed at them.

      I was hoping for JC to fall past Cleavland and Buffalo… and fall to the Vikings. But now, he could again get picked up by some really shitty teams and prevent him from early success in his career.


  5. Kudos Shaz, I just hope all our guys get a good fit to insure success in the NFL rather than just being a number pick.

  6. I’m not sure how deep this draft is in terms of safties, But K-Mac is one hell of a football player. We were lucky to have him, as will some NFL team.
    He’s a smart, tough player, who doesn’t take any play’s off.
    Good luck to him, and all our guy’s.

    1. I’d like to see him make it. He got nowhere near the press as Zibby, but I’d say was as good a football player. Possibly more versatile and able to fit into the NFL. Otherwise, CFL, Europe, or into coaching.

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