Top Four Notre Dame NFL Draft Prospects on Offense

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Notre Dame did not have a player selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. 2021 will likely be no different. But similar to 2020, Notre Dame will be well represented. There are eight players on the team who can expect to hear their name called or sign onto an NFL team in 2021. 

The second of three bye weeks (we’ll probably have some more of those, now that the state of Indiana has decided to go full re-opening) is the perfect time to look at who those top prospects are.

Today we look at the prospects on offense, check back tomorrow morning for the defense. For our latest NFL mock draft go here.

Liam Eichenberg (OT) 6-6, 305

If there’s any player on the Irish with first-round talent heading into the 2021 draft, it’s left tackle, Liam Eichenberg. The senior tackle is 6-6, 305 pounds, and has the frame to be an NFL tackle. 

In 2019, Eichenberg allowed zero sacks and was ranked first on the team in pass-blocking and run-blocking grades by Pro Football Focus. He struggles with speed on the outside and appears to lack lateral mobility in pass protection. He’s is a powerful player and aggressive at the point of attack. When he can get his hands on defenders, he’s impressive at driving them off the line of scrimmage.

Eichenberg is projected to go in the second or third round and will likely be the first Irish player to come off the board. To move up to the first round Eichenberg has a few things he’ll need to improve.

This lack of athleticism won’t limit his professional prospects, but it could keep him out of the first round and cause teams to move him inside at the next level. 

taylor decker ohio state football

Projected Round: 2-4

Comparison: Taylor Decker 

Robert Hainsey (OT) 6-5, 295

Balancing the other end of the offensive line is tackle, Robert Hainsey. Despite being relatively the same size as Eichenberg, he’s not as physical, and NFL scouts have projected Hainsey as a guard at the next level. 

In pass protection, Hainsey is a technician. He has excellent foot speed when dropping into his pass set and rarely gets beat around the edge. Of the two tackles, Hainsey is the superior athlete. During the 2019 season, Hainsey didn’t allow a sack in 423 snaps. 

The lack of arm length will continue to be a concern for NFL scouts when projecting Hainsey at tackle. But he appears to be a perfect fit in a zone-blocking scheme, a system that empowers athletic offensive linemen. 

Projected Round: 6-Undrafted

Player Comparison: Josh Kline 

Tommy Kraemer (OG) 6-6, 317 

Before getting injured in the 2019 game against Michigan, Tommy Kraemer was expected to enter the 2020 NFL draft. 

The senior guard will have a hard time hearing his name called during the NFL draft as interior linemen continue to decrease in perceived value. Only four interior offensive linemen have been picked in the first round since 2018. 

The four-year starter is an excellent fit for power rushing offenses. Kraemer physically has a square build, providing him with phenomenal strength that allows him to overpower defensive linemen at the point of attack. 

But he has limited lateral mobility and foot speed. He lacks the athleticism to mirror interior pass rushers and is often late to catch inside stunts. He’ll have to improve his athleticism to hear his name called on draft day, but he has enough skill to find himself on an NFL roster. 

Projected Round: 6-Undrafted 

Player Comparison: Jamon Meredith 

Ian Book (QB) 6-0, 212 

Despite his winning record as the Irish’s starting quarterback, Book does not have the NFL skill set most scouts want. He’ll leave Notre Dame as one of the winningest quarterbacks in school history, but he’s undersized, lacks arm strength, and isn’t an explosive runner. 

Book struggles to make tight throws in the pocket due to the size difference between him and his offensive linemen. The Irish offense tries to work around this and put Book in positions to make plays by increasing his mobility and getting him outside of the pocket. 

When he’s outside of the pocket, though, he gets into trouble by extending plays and often gets sacked. At the line of scrimmage, Book sometimes struggles to read the defense and often makes poor decisions. His vision of the field seems to be lacking as he often locks onto receivers. 

Round Projection: 6-Undrafted 

Player Comparison: Matt Barkley

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