Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2014

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

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BY ANDREW OWENS F or the first time in 20 years, eight former Notre Dame players were selected in what was a very successful NFL Draft for the program. Only LSU (nine) and Alabama (eight) had as many or more players chosen in the annual three-day event as Notre Dame. The Irish landed five players in the first three rounds for the first time since 1994, highlighted by the Dallas Cowboys' selection of offensive lineman Zack Martin with the No. 16 overall pick. On the Cowboys' official website, Martin is referred to as a guard. The team expects to start him there in his first season, but Martin could move to right tackle in 2015 if the Cowboys do not re-sign right tackle Doug Free. Dallas has chosen an offensive lineman in the first round in three of the past four years. "It means everything," Martin said. "I couldn't be happier to come down to Dallas and be a part of this great storied organization. I am very excited to come down there and start competing and to be a part of the team." Martin started a school-record 52 consecutive games during the past four years at Notre Dame and became the first offensive lineman in 54 years to win a postseason MVP trophy when he did so in a 29-16 win over Rutgers at the Pinstripe Bowl. Recently, Martin's stock soared and led to projections in the first half of the first round. His impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and consistent play at Notre Dame made him an attractive prospect to scouts. "Put a 'C' on his shirt right away. He's the best I've ever coached in that he will galvanize a locker room," Irish head coach Brian Kelly told the Chicago Tribune the week of the draft. "He's an incredible practice player who does everything right before you EIGHT TO CELEBRATE Notre Dame ties Alabama for the second most players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft

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