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ESPN NFL Draft guru included four Notre Dame players in final NFL Draft big board


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Two days before the 2024 NFL Draft begins, ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has finalized his big board. The longtime football analyst included four former Notre Dame players in his top 150 prospects

Here is a breakdown of each one. 

No. 8 — offensive tackle Joe Alt 

In this year’s draft, Kiper tapped unanimous All-American left tackle Joe Alt as his No. 8 overall player and No. 1 offensive tackle.  The 6-foot-8, 321-pound stalwart looks to be the first Fighting Irish player drafted in the top 10 since offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey went Nos. 6 and 9 in 2018, respectively.

“Alt started 33 games at left tackle for the Fighting Irish, and I was most impressed by his technique on a snap-to-snap basis,” Kiper said. “He rarely gets caught out. He mirrors well in pass protection, adjusting easily to secondary moves from edge rushers. He does a great job keeping his huge frame between the defender and his quarterback. In his career, he allowed just 16 total pressures in more than 1,000 pass-block snaps.

Alt’s father, John, was a first-round offensive tackle, too, going No. 21 overall to the Chiefs in 1984. He was 6-7, 275 pounds when he entered the NFL, which shows you how the game has changed since then.”

No. 76 — offensive tackle Blake Fisher 

The last time the Irish had two offensive linemen drafted within the top 100 pick was when Liam Eichenberg, Aaron Banks and Robert Hainsey went No. 42, 48 and 95 in 2021, respectively. Blake Fisher has made his case to end up hearing his name called in Rounds 2 or 3. 

Fisher began his Notre Dame career as a true freshman in Week 1 at left tackle. A knee injury knocked him out for all but two games, the second of which he returned in the Fiesta Bowl to start at right tackle. He held that position for the next two seasons before foregoing his remaining two years of eligibility for the professional ranks. 

In addition to being Kiper’s No. 76 overall player, Fisher is the No. 11 offensive tackle. 

No. 114 — cornerback Cam Hart

Cam Hart returned to Notre Dame for his sixth season to verify his NFL Draft profile. Though the 6-2½, 207-pounder will not know for certain until his name is called, Hart appeared to accomplish his goal.

Some NFL Draft pundits actually have Hart as a potential Day Two selection. However, at No. 114 overall, Kiper sees him as an early Day Three pick in the fourth round. Hart is also Kiper’s No. 16 cornerback. 

Troy Pride Jr., who went No. 113 overall (fourth round) in 2020, was the most recent former Irish cornerback to get drafted. KeiVarae Russell in 2016 (No. 74 overall) was the last Notre Dame cornerback to come off the board on Day Two or earlier. 

No. 146 – linebacker JD Bertrand

Despite not participating in on-field workouts at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine due to a plantar fasciitis strain, Kiper has JD Bertrand as a top 150 overall player in this year’s draft. He is also Kiper’s No. 8 off-ball linebacker.

Bertrand led the Irish in total tackles in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The former Notre Dame captain has also become a favorite of Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was the most recent Irish linebacker drafted into the NFL. The Cleveland Browns picked him at No. 52 overall in the 2021 Draft. Drue Tranquill, Jaylon Smith and Prince Shembo have all heard their names called within the first 150 picks over the last decade. 

Mel Kiper Jr. includes five Notre Dame players in positional rankings

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