Predicting Where Notre Dame Players Will Be Selected in 2013 NFL Draft
When your team reaches the national championship, there is a good chance there are a few NFL-caliber players on the roster. This happened to be the case with Notre Dame, as there seem to be nine guys from last year’s team that are on NFL draft boards, and most of them will end up getting drafted at some point within the first seven rounds.
In this group of guys, there are two players who shouldn't have to wait long to hear their name called. The other players have been trying their best to make an impact during All-Star events and could continue to improve their stock during pre-draft workouts. Some players will be sweating it out towards the latter part of the draft, but it should be a successful event for Notre Dame fans that enjoy seeing former players achieve success at the next level.
Let's take a look at the Notre Dame players that will take part in the 2013 NFL draft and where they are likely going to end up.
Guys Who Won't Be Drafted
Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE - Lewis-Moore was one of the most consistent defensive linemen for Notre Dame and could have made an impact in draft workouts to improve his stock. The problem is that he tore his ACL in the BCS national championship and his stock went down the drain. I expect him to be given a chance at some point, but it won't be during the draft.
Jamoris Slaughter, S - Slaughter missed majority of the 2012 season due to an ACL injury as well. It isn't quite known how much he has recovered during his time off, but he won't be selected due to him not having a chance to prove himself, and due to a solid safety class. With his closing speed and sure tackling ability, Slaughter could get a call later down the line, but Irish fans will have to wait and see.
Nick Tausch, K - There aren't many picks that are spent on kickers, especially kickers that didn't participate much in college. Tausch didn't see much action last season due to a groin injury and really only had one effective season during his time in South Bend. A future NFL career is not likely going to happen.
Cierre Wood, RB
What He Brings to the Table: Cierre Wood has to be one of the most underrated running backs in this draft. Often overlooked because he split carries with Theo Riddick, Wood still managed to average a little more than six yards a carry last year. He is a speedy back that can make defenders miss in the open field and his change of direction may be the best of any running back in this draft. Best known for his vision, Wood does a nice job of waiting for his blocks to set up and despite his smaller frame, he can be tough to bring down.
Where He Will Be Selected: sixth round (depending on good draft workouts)
Teams That May Bite: any team with a late pick that is looking to pick up a solid back that can create plays.
Braxston Cave, C
What He Brings to the Table: When healthy, Braxston Cave was arguably the most consistent offensive lineman for the Irish over the course of his career. His combination of size and mobility is impressive, and his lateral quickness really jumps out at you when watching him play. He usually plays with good leverage and he did a good job of holding his own against Alabama defenders such as Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial in the national championship. Overall, he is a tough and smart player who could become a solid lineman if coached up a bit.
Where He Will Be Selected: fifth round (with a good performance in the senior bowl)
Teams That May Bite: Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals
Zeke Motta, S
What He Brings to the Table: More and more NFL teams are looking for those bigger safeties that can play up in the box, but also be athletic enough to man up on a tight end. Zeke Motta is that tough-nosed football player that gets physical in coverage and is aggressive when coming up to help out in run support. He covers a lot of ground and rarely ever misses a tackle in the open field. Also, another thing that teams would like is that he was a leader on this Notre Dame team and won't be a problem in a NFL locker room.
Where He Will Be Selected: fifth round (stood out in the Shrine Game last week)
Teams That May Bite: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys
Theo Riddick, RB
What He Brings to the Table: Theo Riddick is an interesting prospect heading into the draft in April. The reason is because he spent last season as a running back, but spent most of his career at the wide receiver position. He lacks great size to play running back at the next level at 5'11", but he is somebody who can catch balls out of the backfield and even lineup in the slot. Riddick doesn't have that explosive speed you would like to see, but he does have quick feet and is physical after the catch.
Where He Will Be Selected: fifth round (could continue to climb with impressive workouts; he looked good in the Shrine Game last week)
Teams That May Bite: Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans
Tyler Eifert, TE
What He Brings to the Table: Tyler Eifert is more of a wide receiver that happens to be trapped inside of a tight end's body. At 6'5", 250-plus pounds, Eifert is comfortable lining up anywhere on the field and catches just about anything thrown his way. For somebody who is so big, he does a nice job of catching the ball away from his body and his body control is amazing for his size. Eifert has underrated speed and should be a player who can contribute right away on offense. The only major concern is his how reliable he is in the blocking department.
Where He Will Be Selected: first round (easily a top-two prospect at the tight end position)
Teams That May Bite: Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Denver Broncos
Manti Te'o, LB
What He Brings to the Table: There really isn't much Manti Te'o can't do on the football field. The first thing to notice about the Notre Dame superstar is his instincts. He has a high football IQ and reads and reacts quickly to the football, allowing him to always get in on the action. Te'o is a solid tackler in the open field, has a strong/thick build and he is comfortable defending the run or pass. His downfall would be that he isn't the fastest linebacker in the world and struggles to make plays from sideline-to-sideline.
Also, despite what is going on in the news lately, Te'o has a lengthy track record of being a leader on and off the field. That leadership should help rub off on some of the younger players on an NFL team.
Where He Will Be Selected: first round (girlfriend hoax or not, it is hard imagining him being passed up 32 straight times)
Teams That May Bite: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills
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