Blue and Gold Illustrated

BGI April 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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50 APRIL 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH IN THE PROS BY BRYAN DRISKELL E ight former Notre Dame players went to Indianapolis Feb. 26 to March 4 in hopes of boosting their ré- sumés for the NFL Draft in late April. Offensive lineman Alex Bars could not do any on-field work while recov- ering from a knee injury, but he had a successful combine session. Bars was medically cleared by every NFL team he met with on his trip. Linebacker Te'von Coney didn't do any testing, instead choosing to wait until Notre Dame's Pro Day March 20. Notre Dame's leading tackler in 2018, Coney went through on-field po- sition drills and handled himself well, although he did not stand out. Notre Dame's six other former play- ers all went through full testing. Below are results and an overview of each performance. Also provided is the pSPARQ score, which incorporates all the testing numbers. Position rankings are in parenthesis. MILES BOYKIN, WIDE RECEIVER Bench: 12 reps (tied 30th) 40-Yard Dash: 4.42 seconds (9th) Vertical Jump: 43.5 inches (tied 1st) Broad Jump: 140 inches (2nd) Three-Cone Drill: 6.77 seconds (1st) 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.07 seconds (3rd) pSPARQ Score: 150.0 (1st) Recap: The numbers reveal he had the best wide receiver performance. His 150.0 pSPARQ grade was the best of any player, regardless of position. Boykin finished in the top three among wide receivers in four categories, and his 4.42 in the 40-yard dash was better than expected. Boykin's 43.5-inch vertical was tied for second among all combine partici- pants, his 140-inch broad jump was third, his 6.77 in the three-cone drill was eighth and his 4.07 in the 20-yard shuttle was 10th. He also thrived during position drills, running crisp routes and catch- ing the ball well. Boykin's dominant testing performance will have scouts doing a double-take on him as a pros- pect. JULIAN LOVE, CORNERBACK Bench: 14 reps (tied 13th) 40-Yard Dash: 4.54 seconds (24th) Vertical Jump: 36 inches (tied 21st) Broad Jump: 121 inches (tied 19th) Three-Cone Drill: 6.72 seconds (3rd) 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.10 seconds (tied 6th) pSPARQ Score: 120.1 (16th) Recap: Love's testing numbers were about what was expected from him. He didn't show ideal speed or explo- siveness, but his agility numbers were strong. His 6.72 in the three-cone drill ranked third among cornerbacks and fifth among all combine participants. Love performed extremely well during the position drills, which made for a quality overall experience. He showed strong change of direction ability and easy transition skills, which refers to the knack to open up and run after backpedaling. Overall, Love didn't do anything to hurt himself with his on-field testing and drill work. ALIZÉ MACK, TIGHT END Bench: 22 reps (tied 2nd) 40-Yard Dash: 4.70 seconds (tied 7th) Vertical Jump: 36 inches (5th) Broad Jump: 120 inches (5th) Three-Cone Drill: 7.27 seconds (tied 13th) 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.34 seconds (tied 9th) pSPARQ Score: 122.1 (5th) Recap: After an erratic career at Notre Dame, Mack needed a strong combine performance, and he did that. The former Irish tight end ranked in the top five in the explosive tests (ver- tical and broad jump), and his 22 reps on the bench — which ranked second at his position — should dispel any questions about his strength for the position. Former Irish tight end Durham Smythe was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft. Mack bested him in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and 40-yard dash. Fighting Irish Excel At The NFL Scouting Combine Linebacker Drue Tranquill boosted his stock for the NFL Draft with a strong performance across the board at the scouting combine, highlighted by finishing first among his position group with 31 bench press reps. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL NFL NOTES • The NFC champion Los Angeles Rams declined starting center John Sullivan's second-year option in early March in a move to free up salary cap space, making him eligible to become an unrestricted free agent March 13. Sullivan, who turns 34 in August, started 31 of 32 games for Los Angeles over the past two seasons. The lone game he missed during that time came in the 2017 finale when the Rams rested the majority of their starters ahead of the postseason. According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams had the sixth-best offensive line in the league this past season. However, PFF noted that Sullivan's play "fell off" down the stretch. After allowing four pres- sures through the first seven games, he permitted 32 over the last nine. • Tight end Tyler Eifert is on the mend after suffering a season-ending ankle injury this past Septem- ber, releasing workout videos that showed him moving well in February. Regardless, he will find himself having to answer injury questions about his durability heading into free agency. "Obviously it's something I have to deal with and something I have to answer to because it is a part of my history," he told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "It's tough, though, because there's nothing I could do to prevent what is happening. Pretty freak injuries." In six years with the Cincinnati Bengals, Eifert played in 43 of a possible 96 games, and caught 142 passes for 1,716 yards and 21 touchdowns.

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