Wednesday, May 14, 2014
This past draft was a great weekend for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame had 8 players drafted total which was second only to LSU. Zack Martin went on the first night. The second night saw four players (Stephon Tuitt, Troy Niklas, Louis Nix, and Chris Watt) all come off the board in the 2nd and 3rd round. Then in the late rounds on the final day, Prince Shembo got the call from Atlanta, Bennett Jackson got picked by the Giants, and TJ Jones will join Golden Tate and Theo Riddick in Detroit.
It did not stop there. Five former Irish players signed free agent contracts. George Atkinson signed with Oakland, Carlo Calabrese with Cleveland, Dan Fox with the Giants, Kona Schwenke with Kansas City, but the most surprising one in many eyes was Tommy Rees with the Washington Redskins.
Rees was definitely the most debated quarterback I can ever remember. He was loved by many for his heart and toughness, but disliked by many for his lack of ability. I always liked the kid because I had no doubt he gave all he had. I knew he wasn't the most talented quarterback Notre Dame ever had, but he left nothing out there.
Now here he is signing a free agent deal with the Redskins. It will definitely be tough for him to make the squad. RG III is going nowhere and Kirk Cousins has proven to be a quality back up. Colt McCoy is currently the third quarterback and he was a starter for Cleveland before.
It seems impossible for him with those guys there. However, a door might open for him if Cousins gets traded and that definitely is a strong possibility. But if there is anything I learned about him over the years is to not count him out. Here is a kid who was on a roster with Dayne Crist, Andrew Hendrix, and Everett Golson. On paper, Rees was the least talented but yet all these guys were watching him from the sidelines.
I just want to wish him luck and if he doesn't make it, I hope considers coming back to South Bend as a Grad assistant.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Former Irish teammates Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt were part of one of the best defensive lines in college football the last two seasons and both were projected to go in the late first round. But both fell in the draft. The good news is that both landed in good places.
Tuitt was picked in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 46th pick in the draft. The Steelers are second to none when you think of hard hitting defenses. And legendary defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau is one of the best of all time. This is a great place for Tuitt to be.
Louis Nix was then taken by the Houston Texans in the third round with the 83rd pick. Although the Texans had the worst record in the league last year, they do have makings for a really good young defense. JJ Watt is already one of the most feared defensive ends in the league. Then of course the Texans drafted Jadeveon Clowny to play on the other end. Now they can put Nix in between them. That is just scary.
The most notable Irish players left are Troy Niklas, who clearly appears to have made a mistake by leaving early, TJ Jones, George Atkinson, Bennett Jackson, and Tommy Rees. It will be interesting to see which of these guys get selected on the third and final day or who gets a free agent contract.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Notre Dame played Arizona State at AT & T Stadium in their Shamrock Series last October. It was their annual home away from home game. Little did Zack Martin know that it would become a permanent home for him. On Thursday, Martin was selected by the Dallas Cowboys.
Martin was the only former Irish player taken in the first round. Many thought that Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt would also go on the first night. But Nix and Tuitt along with other Irish players such as Troy Niklas, TJ Jones, Tommy Rees, George Atkinson, Bennett Jackson all still await to see where, when, and if they are selected for their NFL futures.
It will be an exciting weekend for these former Irish players.