McGinley: Irish impact in the NFL
Mannion McGinley | Friday, September 25, 2020
Notre Dame has had its fair share of NFL stars. From Joe Montana and Golden Tate to Chase Claypool and Mike McGlinchey, the Irish have spread well across the NFL. With 537 players drafted from Notre Dame and 34 more as free agents, it’s no question there has always been an Irish presence in the league. This year is no different. Notre Dame is represented on 20 different teams. This column will unpack just how much of an impact they have on each team.
Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
While most of the Ravens’ offensive prowess can be attributed to quarterback Lamar Jackson, Irish graduates Miles Boykin (wide receiver) and Ronnie Stanley (offensive tackle), have played important roles in their time on the Ravens first string. This year alone, Boykin has seven receptions for 75 yards. The run game is where the team generates most of its offense, though. Without a strong offensive line, that wouldn’t be possible. That’s where Stanley comes in. Despite getting injured this past week, he had played every other snap this year and plans to return to their game Sunday.
Irish Impact: 8/10
Carolina Panthers (0-2)
The Panthers also have two Notre Dame grads on their roster. J.J. Jansen, a long snapper who has been on the team since 2009, is the first-string long snapper and continues to be reliable this year. Troy Pride Jr. is a rookie cornerback, and in the two games he’s played has made eight tackles.
Because they have both longevity and newcomer talent, Irish Impact: 7/10
Chicago Bears (2-0)
The Bears have three Irish players. Rookie Cole Kmet and third year player Alex Bars are both second string. Kmet has had one catch for 12 yards, but Bars has not seen the field yet this season. The third player is Sam Mustipher, who has been contributing on the Bears’ practice squad.
Irish Impact: 3/10
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
Signed in the fifth round of this year’s draft, Khalid Kareem is the only former Notre Dame player currently on the Bengals. He hasn’t contributed as much as Pride this year, but as a second-string defensive end, he has had one solo tackle and one assisted tackle in the two games, which is a good start.
For one contributing player, Irish Impact: 4/10
Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
The Cowboys have two former Irish players on their roster this year in Jaylon Smith and Zack Martin. Smith has contributed significantly over his four years on the Cowboys as a linebacker. This year alone he has 13 solo tackles, 10 assisted tackles, two pass deflects and one stuff for a loss of 2 yards. Martin continues to anchor Dak Prescott’s O-line.
For a list of stats and a right guard from quote-on-quote ‘O-line U’, Irish Impact: 6/10
Detroit Lions (0-2)
The Lions have three Irish graduates on their roster including Jalen Elliot, who is a rookie on the practice squad, and Julian and Romeo Okwara. The pair missed playing on campus together by one year but now are both on the second-string of the Detroit roster. Romeo has had more experience and this year has had the chance to make three solo and two assisted tackles, one of which was a stuff.
Because of the brotherhood and the second-string action, Irish Impact: 5/10
Green Bay Packers (2-0)
Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is on Injured Reserve and second year running back Dexter Williams is currently on the Practice Squad.
With one player contributing, Irish Impact: 1/10
Houston Texans (0-2)
This year, wide receiver Will Fuller V has contributed nicely to the Texans with eight receptions and 112 yards. Nick Martin is the first-string center who was picked by Houston in 2016 and has been there ever since. CJ Prosise is on the practice squad.
Irish Impact: 5/10
Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
The Colts have two Irish players. Defensive tackle Sheldon Day is on Injured Reserve but Quenton Nelson has been on the team since 2018 as a first-string left guard.
Irish Impact: 3/10
New York Jets (0-2)
Running back Josh Adams and Cornerback Bennett Jackson are both on the practice squad for the Jets. Safety Matthais Farley has had one tackle on the season.
Irish Impact: 2/10
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Tyler Eifert joined the league in 2013 and came to the Jaguars this year. Since he arrived, he’s had four receptions for 44 yards.
Irish Impact: 4/10
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
The Chargers currently have the most contributing Irish players. Alohi Gilman is their newest gain. The rookie safety joined Isaac Rochell, Jerry Tillery and Asmar Bilal. Rochell has had three solo tackles and one assisted tackle this year. Tillery has had three killer solo tackles this year in his second year with the Chargers as a defensive tackle. Bilal and Gilman have not seen the field yet, and Drue Tranquil is on injured reserve at the moment.
For spirit impact and potential to match that on the field, Irish Impact: 7/10
Las Vegas Raiders (2-0)
The Raiders have three former Irish. DeShone Kizer and Theo Riddick are currently on the practice squad, and right tackle Sam Young is currently active in his first year on the Raiders.
Without much statistical detail, Irish Impact: 2/10
Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
First-string tight end Kyle Rudolph and first-string safety Harrison Smith have been making a name for themselves on the team. Rudolph has had two receptions for 28 yards. Smith has had eight solo tackles and one assisted, as well as one pass deflected on the season. Together they represent the Irish well.
Irish Impact: 6/10
New York Giants (0-2)
The Giants also have an offensive and a defensive weapon from the Irish. Wide receiver Golden Tate has been reliable on the offensive front with five receptions and 47 yards. Rookie Julian Love has been holding his own as well. With seven solo tackles, an interception, one pass deflection, one stuff and an assisted tackle.
For success per player, especially for a rookie, Irish Impact: 8.5/10
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
The Steelers have three former Irish players. Rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has begun to make a name for himself on the Steelers roster, with a toe-touch catch last week bringing him to five receptions for 127 yards, eight rushing yards and one touchdown on the season. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt has had one individual tackle, one assisted and one sack this season. Jarron Jones is on the Pittsburgh practice squad.
With three players, two of which with heavy impact, Irish Impact: 9/10
San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
The 49ers have Mike McGlinchey, offensive tackle, who has been on the field since he arrived. This year they also signed rookie Chris Finke from free agency directly after the draft, but he hasn’t been on the field yet.
Irish Impact: 5/10
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.