Notre Dame was shut out in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but the Fighting Irish were heard from Friday night during the second round with a trio of selections.
Liam Eichenberg #42 – Miami Dolphins
Surprisingly, the first Notre Dame player to hear their name called this year was NOT Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. It was Notre Dame’s starting left tackle for the last three years – Liam Eichenberg when the Dolphins made him the 10th selection of the second round. The selection snapped Notre Dame’s streak of starting left tackles getting drafted in the first round that dated back to Zack Martin.
In Miami, Eichenberg is likely a day one starter at right tackle for the Dolphins. Over the last two seasons, Eichenberg has given up a pressure on just 1.1% of the snaps he’s played and didn’t allow a single sack. The Dolphins helped shore up the offensive line tasked with protecting second year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Aaron Banks #48 – San Francisco 49ers
Six picks after Eichenberg heard his name called, another Notre Dame offensive lineman came off the board when the San Francisco 49ers selected Aaron Banks #48 overall. Banks joins for Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey on the 49ers offensive line.
There was some hope that Banks would return to Notre Dame in 2021 while he improved his draft stock, but his second round selection shows that Banks had a pretty good idea he wouldn’t last long. No one projected him as a first-round selection so this was about as good of an outcome as Banks could have hoped for when he declared for the draft.
Had Banks returned to Notre Dame in 2021, he would have slid over to left tackle. That kind of versatility and agility for a guard is likely why Banks heard his name called relatively early. He will compete for a starting job from day one in San Francisco.
Jeremish Owusu-Koramoah #52 – Cleveland Browns
The third player selected from Notre Dame on Friday night was universally expected to be the first, but Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah slid all the way down to #52 overall where the Cleveland Browns traded up to select him. Almost every draft prognosticator had JOK being selected in the first round, but it appears as though concerns over his size dropped him down draft boards.
The Browns were awful at defending the pass in 2020 so Wu’s coverage skills should pencil him in as a starter for Cleveland early on in his career. Some questioned where JOK would fit into a NFL defense because of his size, but the Browns got an absolute steal drafting him at #52 overall.
In the end, six different linebackers were selected ahead of Owusu-Koramoah. Six different NFL teams very well may ultimately end up regretting their decisions to pass up Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.