Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

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

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Page 40 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2018 41 starter at tight end for the Irish even- tually was drafted into the NFL. There will be fierce competition between the two drafted tight ends, but Smythe and Gesicki have played on the field together. "He was actu- ally on my team at the Senior Bowl," Smythe told The Sun-Sentinel. "There were definitely times in practice where we'd be in a wing set or both on the field at the same time, so it's something that we've already done. "I could definitely see it happening in the future." Former 2002-05 Notre Dame tight end Anthony Fasano, a second-round selection, played at Miami last year in his 12th NFL season but is now a free agent. ST. BROWN DROPS TO PACKERS IN ROUND SIX St. Brown was the fourth former Irish player to be drafted, but he fell much further than most projected. Mock drafts had him as a third- or fourth-round pick, but he was not taken until late in the sixth round with the No. 207 overall selection. It certainly wasn't where St. Brown thought he would go. "I expected to go higher," he said of his draft position. "I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed. But now it's over and behind me. "I've just got to play football." St. Brown was given a "go back to school" grade by the NFL advisory committee, but the Anaheim, Calif., native still made the decision to leave Notre Dame with one season of eligi- bility remaining. "My goal as a young kid was to play in the NFL," St. Brown explained. "I felt like I was ready to play in the NFL. It was just a matter of pursuing my goals." Falling in the draft is something that St. Brown plans to use as major motivation. "It definitely fueled me more than I thought it would," he noted. "I'm definitely ready to put on some cleats and start playing football. "I've never been so ready for any- thing in my life." ✦ Undrafted Irish Players Have Opportunity For Success Not getting drafted doesn't mean a player's NFL dreams are over. Numerous undrafted former Notre Dame players have had success in the NFL in recent seasons. Safety Matthias Farley (2011-15) went un- drafted, but caught on with the Indianapolis Colts. He played 16 games in 2016 and started 15 contests last season. Farley finished the 2017 campaign with 98 tackles, seven passes defended and two interceptions. Offensive guard Trevor Robinson (2008-11) started 21 career games and played five sea- sons with three different teams. Defensive end Romeo Okwara (2012-15) started four games as a rookie for the New York Giants in 2016, and registered 25 tackles and one sack. Linebacker James Onwualu (2013-16) played in nine games last season for the Los Angeles Chargers. In addition, former Notre Dame cor- nerback Cody Riggs (2014) played in 14 games for the Tennessee Titans during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Several current undrafted Irish players are hoping to continue that trend. Running back Josh Adams (Philadelphia Eagles), linebacker Nyles Morgan (Chicago Bears), linebacker Greer Martini (Green Bay Packers) and defen- sive end Andrew Trumbetti (Chicago Bears) were all signed as undrafted free agents. Adams, Morgan and Martini were all cap- tains for Notre Dame in 2017. Adams finished his career fifth on Notre Dame's all-time rush- ing list with 3,198 yards. His 1,430 yards this past season were the second-best single-sea- son mark in school history. Morgan ended his career with 246 tackles, 16.5 stops for loss and six sacks; Martini com- piled 191 career stops, 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks; and Trumbetti ended with 90 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 19 quarter- back hurries. — Bryan Driskell Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was projected to go in the third or fourth round, but wasn't taken until the end of the sixth round when the Packers snagged him with the No. 207 overall selection. PHOTO BY EVAN SIEGLE/COURTESY GREEN BAY PACKERS

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