HomeNFLNewsstand: Notre Dame NFL Draft hopeful identified as a ‘sleeper’

Newsstand: Notre Dame NFL Draft hopeful identified as a ‘sleeper’


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After five seasons at Notre Dame that included two as a team captain, linebacker JD Bertrand is taking his talents to the NFL, and he is projected as a sixth-round pick according to NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein.

Whether he’s a Day 3 pick or undrafted free agent, college coaches surveyed in an ESPN article believe that Bertrand will add value to a team at the next level. Bertrand was one of nearly two dozen draft hopefuls mentioned in the story regarding their status as a “sleeper” pick.

“He’s going to make an NFL team better,” said a coach who faced Bertrand, per the ESPN article. “He maximizes his ability.”

In five seasons for Notre Dame, Bertrand played 40 games and registered 267 tackles (156 solo), 22.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 9 pass breakups. He also forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble. 

College football analyst Phil Steele named Bertrand All-Independent first team in 2022. He was also named to the Butkus Award watch list — which honors the nation’s top linebacker — before the 2023 season. 

Notre Dame tweets of the day

Quote of the day

“Coach Freeman played linebacker. So, we have connected on that aspect of the game. He’s from Ohio and played at Ohio State. Even Coach Bullough, he was a major player for Michigan State. They have the knowledge that I need. They’re great guys outside of football and people you can talk to about life.

“The relationship we have been building has been great. Their IQ about the position is also amazing. They’ve been there and done that. It has been great. I’m getting more comfortable being around them and talking about football and everything else.”

— 2026 LB Cincere Johnson on the Irish staff following his weekend ND visit

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