Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2020

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

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50 OCT. 17, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH IN THE PROS BY ANDREW MENTOCK H eading into October, Notre Dame claimed 35 players on active NFL rosters this season. In addition, there are a handful of Fighting Irish products scrapping for roster spots who are either currently on practice squads or were on one at some point this fall. For this week's Irish in the Pros, Blue & Gold Illustrated crafted a fan- tasy depth chart using only players who were part of an NFL franchise this fall. For this exercise, we're living in a world where all players are healthy, so a Notre Dame alum such as line- backer Drue Tranquill (currently on injured reserve) is available. OFFENSE QUARTERBACK Starter: DeShone Kizer, Free Agent Second String: — The lone option is the former sec- ond-round pick Kizer, who was re- cently cut from the Las Vegas Raid- ers' practice squad. He does have 15 career NFL starts, but all of them came as a rookie for the Cleveland Browns in 2017. He hasn't thrown a pass since backing up Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers in 2018. Kizer has completed 53.1 percent of his passes for 3,081 yards with 11 touchdowns and 24 interceptions during his pro career. RUNNING BACK Starter: Josh Adams, New York Jets Second String: CJ Prosise, Hous- ton Texans Reserves: Tony Jones Jr., New Or- leans Saints; Theo Riddick, Las Vegas Raiders; and Dexter Williams, Green Bay Packers This is the second-weakest position on the team after quarterback. Pre- sumed starter Adams and the other four backs were either on practice squads at the start of the season or currently are on one. WIDE RECEIVER Boundary: Chase Claypool, Pitts- burgh Steelers Slot: Golden Tate, New York Gi- ants Field: Will Fuller V, Houston Tex- ans Reserves: Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens; and Equanimeous St. Brown, Green Bay Packers This corps has some significant talent that consists of a first-round pick (Fuller), two seconds-rounders (Tate and Claypool), a third-rounder (Boykin) and a seventh-rounder (St. Brown). The biggest advantage this unit has going for it is the players comple- ment each other's skill set. Overall, this is a particularly fast group of wide receivers, with St. Brown running the slowest 40- yard dash at the NFL Combine with a 4.48, which was topped by Boykin (4.43), Claypool (4.42), Tate (4.42) and Fuller V (4.32). TIGHT END Starter: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings Second String: Durham Smythe, Miami Dolphins Reserves: Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars; and Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears Rudolph has been a consistent and reliable contributor to the Minnesota Vikings offense for more than a de- cade, compiling 4,193 yards and 48 touchdowns during his career. Behind him is Smythe. This may be a slightly controversial pick, but he's a much better blocker at this point in his career than Eifert and catches the ball well when targeted. Either way, both will play. OFFENSIVE LINE Left Tackle: Ronnie Stanley, Balti- more Ravens Left Guard: Quenton Nelson, In- dianapolis Colts Center: Nick Martin, Houston Tex- ans Right Guard: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys Right Tackle: Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco 49ers Tackle Reserve: Sam Young, Las Vegas Raiders Interior Reserves: Alex Bars, Chi- cago Bears; and Sam Mustipher, Chi- cago Bears Was there any doubt about which position group would be the best on the team? This collection of offensive linemen would easily be the best starting unit in the NFL, with three members of last year 's All-Pro team in Stanley, Nelson and Zack Martin. Crafting A Roster Comprised Of Former Notre Dame Players Currently In The NFL Indianapolis Colts right guard Quenton Nelson leads the way for a strong starting five along the offen- sive line, which is easily the best position group for the Fighting Irish at the next level. PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

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