Notre Dame to Chargers Pipeline Could Continue in NFL Draft

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The Los Angeles (it’s still difficult to not call them San Diego) Chargers are beloved by some neutrals and even non-football fans due to their powder blue and yellow color scheme. Many will tell you that their uniforms are the best in the league. They do have a dark navy blue offering, which is somewhat reminiscent of Notre Dame.

Just turn that yellow a bit closer to gold and you’ve got it, and by it I mean “Notre Dame Southwest.” The 2020 roster had four former Fighting Irish players on the roster: Donte Vaughn Alohi Gilman, Drue Tranquill and Jerry Tillery.

This is what we call “a pipeline” in sports, and tomorrow night, in rounds two and three of the NFL Draft, we could see it continue. The draft is probably getting you in football mode, or making you think about it, at least, and you can get ready for the NFL season with BetQL’s computer picks. The Chargers are 2.5 point favorites over the Bengals in the season opener. The Chargers pick at #47 overall in the second round, and then #77 overall in the third round.

If Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is still available when the Bolts are on the clock, they got to nab him, because he would certainly be the best player available at that point.

Owusu-Koramoah, known for his versatility, reflects the defensive players needed to handle the new NFL offenses focused on “pace and space.” 

NFL defenses need players who have the skill set to stay on the field in all down and distance scenarios.

One of the top needs for Notre Dame in this draft is OL, and they addressed that with their first pick, at #13 with Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.

However, a mid round pick (they’ll select 77th overall in the third round Friday night) could also be spent on beefing up the o-line. Protecting their franchise QB Justin Herbert is first and foremost the top priority. Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg could make sense here. In 2019, he allowed zero sacks and was ranked first on the team in pass-blocking and run-blocking grades by Pro Football Focus.

Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly did a Zoom call after last year’s draft to discuss the Domers who were selected in the NFL Draft and signed pro contracts last weekend.

Kelly was asked if there is a special relationship there between Notre Dame and the Chargers.

“GM Tom Telesco, Kevin Kelly the lead scout has been great job in evaluating our players,” said Kelly.

“Obviously, the entire organization believes that our players have developed in a manner…certainly we want to be able to  continue to develop great young men that can be great Chargers for them as well.”

“We’re just happy that we have great young men that they believe in, who they believe can help their organization move towards a Super Bowl.”

Current ND Offensive Coordinator and holder of many school passing records Tommy Rees was born in L.A. but grew up in the Chicago north shore suburbs.

He was an assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers in 2016. Manti Te’o didn’t do a lot in the NFL, but the highlights of his pro career did come with the Chargers.

In 2018, ND played in San Diego for the annual game against Navy, while they also visit Los Angeles every other season to play their main rival, USC. In short, Notre Dame and L.A./Chargers connections run deep.

Pipelines are big in sports, and you see them everywhere.

 

From high school basketball to college hoops, like Simeon H.S. to the Illinois Fighting Illini. Or in the Premier League from Southampton FC to Liverpool FC. From Notre Dame to the Chargers is yet another one.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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