It did not take long for a Notre Dame player to hear their name called on Saturday’s day three of the NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers selected Notre Dame CB Troy Pride Jr #113 overall. Pride is now the fourth Notre Dame player to be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Carolina Panthers have had a defensive focus with all of the 2020 selections under new head coach Matt Rhule who left Baylor in January to take over for Ron Rivera. Rivera was fired during the 2019 season after a successful stint coaching in Carolina.
Pride might have been a higher pick had he run a 40-yard dash closer to what most expected the Irish sprinter to run. His mid 4.4 time was okay but wasn’t the blazing speed that most predicted he would run. A Pro Day at Notre Dame would have helped him cement his stock as a second-rounder, but Pro Days were lost amid the COVID-19 shutdown.
Before then, Pride’s stock was on the rise thanks to a dominating performance during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He backed that up with an interception in the game itself.
There are still some holes in Pride’s game. He isn’t overly physical. He also still has work to do with his ball skills. There were numerous times throughout his Notre Dame career that he was in a position to make a play but was unable to do so, as evidenced by having just one interception in 2019.
One area that he excels though is in preventing long balls. He only gave up five passes of 25+ yards in his Notre Dame career.
Troy Pride Jr. has only given up 5 catches of 25+ yards in his career at Notre Dame.
He's been targeted 175 times. pic.twitter.com/DPIvEPiuCh
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 22, 2020
That is an incredible stat and one that should give Pride a chance for a long NFL career. He has elite speed – especially recovery speed – and he doesn’t give up long balls. That is a coveted asset in the NFL.
Pride also played a bit out of position for Notre Dame in 2019 as the boundary corner when his game was more suited for the field position. In the second half of 2018, he might have been the best corner on the field for the Irish even though he was paired with Thorpe Award finalist Julian Love. Pride was that good and that impressive.
He ended his Notre Dame career with four career interceptions, 121 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
Pride was the fourth Notre Dame player selected in the draft after three Golden Domers were picked on Friday’s Day 2. Cole Kmet went 43rd overall to the Chicago Bears, wide receiver Chase Claypool was selected 49th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Julian Okwara was reunited with his brother Romeo with the 67th overall selection by the Detroit Lions.
Several other Notre Dame players figure to have their name called during today’s final day of the 2020 Draft. Khalid Kareem and Alohi Gilman are locks to get drafted while others such as Chris Finke, Asmar Bilal, Jalen Elliott, and Jamir Jones hope to be either be late-round selections or undrafted free agents.