Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman became the third Notre Dame football player drafted on the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday and sixth overall. The Los Angeles Chargers selected Gilman #186 overall in the 6th round.
Gilman joins a Chargers roster that has plenty of Notre Dame connections. Defensive linemen Isaac Rochell and Jerry Tillery along with linebacker Drue Tranquill have all been selected by the Chargers in recent years. James Onuwaulu was signed by the Chargers last off-season as well but was placed on injured reserve in August with a knee injury.
Gilman came to Notre Dame in 2017 as a transfer from Navy and after sitting out a year, he became a playmaker for the Irish defense immediately. He made an instant impact in his first game in a Notre Dame uniform when the Irish beat the Michigan Wolverines to start the 2018 season.
Over the last two seasons, Gilman racked up 169 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. His production dipped a bit in 2019 in terms of total tackles, but 10 of those 14 tackles for loss occurred this past season. Gilman also served as one of Notre Dame’s seven captains in 2019.
Originally I had Gilman projected to be selected in the 4th round figuring at least one team would fall in love with Gilman’s ballhawking skills and overlook his lack of elite speed, but ultimately he fell later in the draft likely due that lack of top end speed.
Gilman had an opportunity to return to Notre Dame for a 5th year but chose to move on to the NFL this year. The concerns about his game regarding size/speed were things he likely could not have addressed or improved upon with another season of college football. That is assuming there even is 2020 college football season.
The __________ are getting a hard-nosed football player who will be an immediate contributor on special teams who will work his way into the starting lineup at some point in the future. Gilman is also a great lockerroom presence as evidenced by his 2019 captainship and his firey half-time speech during the 2018 USC game when the Irish struggled in the first half with a playoff bid on the line.
Gilman became the second member of the Notre Dame secondary drafted this year. Earlier Saturday, Troy Pride Jr was selected by #113 overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 4th round of draft. Overall he is the fourth defensive player from Notre Dame selected along with Pride and defensive ends Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem. Okwara heard his name called on Friday night while Kareem had to wait until the first pick of the 5th round, #147 overall, before being selected.
It is unclear if there will be any other Notre Dame players selected this year. Jalen Elliott, Chris Finke, Jamir Jones, and Asmar Bilal will all have an opportunity to make a roster in 2020, but they might be headed towards the undrafted free agent route.
Good luck, Alohi! One of my favorite players. Would have loved to see him back for another year but as pointed out in the article his lack of NFL type speed would not have improved. Will miss those crushing tackles.