HomeNFLNotre Dame Getting Major First Round Projections For The 2025 NFL Draft

Notre Dame Getting Major First Round Projections For The 2025 NFL Draft

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Notre Dame is expected to be one of the nation’s best college football teams in 2024, and a big part of that is the Irish are returning a very talented roster. It would seem NFL Draft analysts are also recognizing Notre Dame’s talented roster, and you’re seeing that in the early draft projections for next season.

Looking through different early mock drafts from reputable analysts, you’ll see four different Notre Dame players getting projected into the first round.

BENJAMIN MORRISON

So far, Morrison has been a consensus first round pick in the early projections. That shouldn’t come as a surprise after he showed dominant coverage skills his first two seasons, including two strong matchups against Marvin Harrison Jr., who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Morrison has shown the ability to lock down future NFL talent, and the 2024 season is his next chance to show he’s an elite draft prospect as well.

I’ve seen Morrison projected anywhere from No. 8 to No. 17. Here’s a look at where I’ve seen Morrison projected so far.

The Athletic – No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings

“The Irish coaches say it was clear from the moment Morrison arrived in South Bend that he is an alpha. With his size and athletic profile, he stays attached to routes and has a great feel for finding the football.” – Dane Brugler, The Athletic

USA TODAY – No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings

“The 6-0, 186-pound Morrison has been a standout from the outset of his time with the Fighting Irish, recording nine interceptions in the last two years. Cornerback has been a sore spot for the Vikings for a while, but Minnesota has had to deal with higher-order priorities in pivoting at quarterback and retooling its pass rush.” – Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY

Pro Football Focus – No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings

“Minnesota made nice mid-round cornerback selections over the past two years. Here, they take a top-tier talent in Notre Dame’s Benjamin Morrison. He posted an 84.6 coverage grade in 2023, breaking up eight passes and intercepting three more along the way.” – PFF

Sports Illustrated – No. 12 – Indianapolis Colts

“Benjamin Morrison picked off six passes as a freshman and followed it up with three more as a sophomore. The Phoenix, AZ product will keep him in contention with Will Johnson as the top cornerback in the draft, which will grab the Colts’ attention as they search for a top cover man.” – Richie Bradshaw, SI

Athlon – No. 13 – Indianapolis Colts

“Indy has some youth and promise in the cornerback room, but they could still use another potential shutdown guy like Morrison.” – Luke Easterling, Athlon

Sporting News – No. 13 – Minnesota Vikings

“The Vikings will have some cornerback issues to address next offseason with Byron Murphy Jr. leading a slew of cover men going into free agency. Morrison is an active playmaker with a nose for the ball, but he also keeps from playing overaggressive.” – Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

33RD TEAM – No. 17 – Chicago Bears

“Benjamin Morrison is a four-star cornerback with elite speed (4.39 expected 40-yard dash). Morrison has been a two-year starter at Notre Dame, and his game has only improved with more experience. He might not have the size (6-foot) of some of the other top cornerbacks in the draft, but his athleticism is off the charts.” – Marcus Mosher, 33rd Team

HOWARD CROSS

Cross had a breakout campaign in 2023, earning second team All-American honors while racking up 66 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two sacks while also leading the Irish with 39 quarterback pressures (PFF). Cross is undersized, but he’s also disruptive and productive. I was a bit surprised to see Cross in so many first round projections due to his lack of ideal size, but his All-American campaign clearly caught some eyes.

Here are the analysts that have Cross as an early first round projection:

Athlon – No. 17 – Chicago Bears

“Matt Eberflus’ defense needs an explosive, disruptive presence along the interior in the trenches, and the undersized but feisty Cross would fit like a glove.” – Luke Easterling, Athlon

PFF – No. 23 – Miami Dolphins

“After losing Christian Wilkins in free agency, the Dolphins were expected to address the interior defensive line in the, potentially as early as the first round. Instead,Miamilooked elsewhere and went the entire draft without selecting a defensive tackle. Cross is on the smaller side at 6-foot-1 and 284 pounds, and is a sixth-year senior, but he was one of the most productive interior defenders in college football this past season. His 90.8 grade in 2023 trailed only, Byron Murphy II and Mason Graham among FBS defensive tackles.” – PFF

33rd – No. 31 – Kansas City Chiefs

“Chris Jones is in his 30s, and the Kansas City Chiefs could use some more interior defensive line help. Howard Cross is a much different type of defensive tackle than Jones. He has a smaller frame and is only 280 pounds. However, he’s been productive for several years at Notre Dame and could push himself into the later stages of Round 1 with a solid senior season.” – Marcus Mosher, 33rd Team

XAVIER WATTS

Watts is another Notre Dame player that had a brilliant 2023 campaign that ended with him winning the Bronko Nagurski Award and earning unanimous All-American honors. Watts tied for the nation lead with seven interceptions, and he dominated USC quarterback Caleb Williams, who he picked off twice, returning each interception inside the 10-yard line. Williams, of course, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Watts isn’t getting a ton of first round love, but there is one analyst that sees him as being a top pick.

33rd TEAM – No. 20 – Baltimore Ravens

“The Baltimore Ravens had a ton of success drafting another Notre Dame safety in Round 1 in 2022 with Kyle Hamilton, so why not go back to the well? Xavier Watts is a smaller safety (5-foot-11, 199 pounds), but he is a ballhawk who recorded seven interceptions last year. He needs to add some more bulk, but he could be the perfect long-term pairing with Hamilton. ” – Marcus Mosher, 33rd Team

MITCHELL EVANS

Evans was on pace for a true breakout season before his season ended with a knee injury in the 58-7 win over Pittsburgh. How quickly he can get healthy and get back to full speed will play a big role in where he ultimately gets picked next season. I’ve seen plenty of second and third round projections for Evans, but PFF sees him as a first round pick.

PFF – No. 32 – Kansas City Chiefs

“The Chiefs select the heir apparent to Travis Kelce. Evans was dominant in South Bend last season before tearing his ACL, posting an 83.7 receiving grade. If he recovers well from his injury, he could compete with Colston Loveland to be the first tight end off the board.” – PFF

It’s early, and there will be plenty of changes and adjustments over the next year. This isn’t meant to predict that Notre Dame will have four first round picks, but it does show the early recognition that Notre Dame’s roster is starting to produce more and more high level talent.

The last time Notre Dame produced four first round draft picks was 1993 when Rick Mirer (No. 2), Jerome Bettis (No. 10), Tom Carter (No. 17) and Irv Smith (No. 20) were selected.

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