As we continue on previewing potential Buccaneers draft prospects, we take a look at the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish finished their 2017 campaign with a 10-3 record and defeating the LSU Tigers in the Citrus Bowl 21-17. Head coach Brian Kelly has had his struggles to get over the hump, but the Irish are a team that every opponent has to circle on the schedule – and take very seriously. As far as the draft is concerned, there are some potential targets for the Buccaneers – including one in the first round.
Here are the former Notre Dame players that will be draft eligible come April;
Quarterback – Montgomery VanGorder
Linebacker – Nyles Morgan
Cornerback – Nick Watkins
Wide Receiver – Keenan Centlivre
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Wide Receiver – Freddy Canteen
Wide Receiver – Cameron Smith
Linebacker – Drue Tranquill
Kicker – Sam Kohler
Wide Receiver – Grant Hammann
Linebacker – Greer Martini
Center – Sam Mustipher
Defensive Tackle – Jonathan Bonner
Guard – Quenton Nelson
Guard – Sam Bush
Defensive Tackle – Ryan Kilander
Offensive Tackle – Jimmy Byrne
Offensive Tackle – Mike McGlinchey
Guard – Hunter Bivin
Guard – Alex Bars
Tight End – Durham Smythe
Tight End – Nic Weishar
Punter – Tyler Newsome
Defensive End – Jay Hayes
Defensive Tackle – Pete Mokwuah
Running Back – Josh Adams
Wide Receiver – Equanimeous St. Brown
Senior To Watch: Guard – Quenton Nelson
It’s no secret the Buccaneers desperately need help along the offensive and defensive lines. Should Bradley Chubb be gone, as many suspect he will be, Nelson could be an easy choice for the Bucs at number seven. We’ve seen him mocked to the Bucs numerous times already because it makes sense. You don’t want to spend a top ten pick on a running back when he has no line to run behind, regardless of how great Saquon Barkley has been. The combination of someone like Nelson and Sony Michel is far greater than the combination of Barkley and whatever guard you would take in the second round.
It’s about positional value and the value at running back is much deeper than that of the offensive linemen in this draft.
And let’s not forget that Jameis Winston missed games for the first time in his professional career due to injury because the offensive line couldn’t protect him. The games are won in the trenches and the Buccaneers have to address both of theirs.
Underclassman To Watch: Running Back – Josh Adams
Josh Adams finished the 2017 season with 1,430 rushing yards on 206 attempts (a 6.9 yards per carry average) and 101 receiving yards on thirteen receptions. Add to that nine rushing touchdowns and you have yourself a pretty effective running back in both the run and pass games. Adams is currently projected to be drafted anywhere from the third to fifth round, so another day two/three back that can immediately come in and be a difference maker. Should the Buccaneers miss out on backs like Sony Michel or Nick Chubb early in round two, they can sit and wait for Adams later on while addressing other needs first.
Luke Easterling of the Draft Wire currently has Adams ranked as his number ten running back in the class, just ahead of Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough. Even at 6’2″ and 225 lbs., Adams has game breaking speed and proves to be a difference maker, no matter where the offense is on the field.
The big question surrounding Adams is the health and strength of the knee. Having already suffered a torn ACL, teams may be a little trepidatious. He didn’t have any issues while at Notre Dame, but that doesn’t mean NFL teams will be any more confident that issues won’t linger into his professional career.
Could the Buccaneers fill two major needs from one college? It’s quite possible. The combination of Quenton Nelson and Josh Adams should have Bucs fans dancing in the street with excitement.