In this upcoming draft two Golden-Domers should go in the first round LB Manti Te’o and TE Tyler Eifert. Then there’s the question of Notre Dame RB Cierre Wood, who is drawing NFL interest, but not sure whether he’ll stay in school or leaving early. He says he’s leaning towards bolting. As for 2014, there’s two guys who might likely be in the NFL first round, and they’re in the same position group.
Louis Nix, NT
He flashes a rare skill-set for a player his size and strength. 330 pounds, although he was once 370. Began his career at ND as a developmental project and has now come full circle into a full blown monster. The huge, space-eating Nix led a Notre Dame defensive front that held opposing teams to 92 yards rushing per game. Nix had 45 tackles, including five and a half for a loss and two sacks. The Florida native choose South Bend over Florida, Florida State and Miami. So he has “SEC speed” despite his girth. There are concerns though that he could “Burger King himself out of the league” Likely a top 20-25 pick.
Stephon Tuitt, DE
Has a serious work ethic that helped him bulk up to 303 pounds while maintaining his speed. Came to ND about 60 pounds lighter and might have been a LB. Returned a fumble 77 yards for a touchdown against Navy. Had 12 sacks this season, ranking in the top 10 in college football and making Irish fans forget about another highly recruited but head case defensive end Aaron Lynch, who transferred last season to South Florida. Lynch will join Tuitt in the top 10-15 range in this draft. Imagine if he had stayed, what kind of DL they would have had?
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.