Koyack to Jags

Ben Koyack will be Notre Dame’s next tight end into the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars took the Irish senior in the seventh round on Saturday, making him the No. 229 overall selection and 15th tight end to go.

When the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Ben Koyack in the seventh of the NFL draft on Saturday afternoon it continued one Irish streak and snapped another.

For the 12th consecutive season Notre Dame’s top tight end ultimately got drafted, a run that started with Anthony Fasano, who led Irish tight ends in receptions for three straight years. But for the first time during that run, Notre Dame’s lead tight end didn’t get snapped up in the opening two rounds.

Koyack was the 15th tight end selected overall and fell behind players at the position from Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Delaware, and UAB, among others.

Fasano, John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph and Troy Niklas all went in the second round of their drafts. Tyler Eifert went in the first. Koyack falls into the group of tight ends that preceded this Irish run when Jabari Holloway, Dan O’Leary and John Owens and Jerome Collins were all late round picks from 2001-05.

Koyack falling out into Saturday wasn’t a surprise following his middling numbers posted at the NFL Combine and at Pro Day on campus. Koyack didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but his 4.72 at Pro Day would have ranked third at the position.

Strength, even at 6-foot-5, 257 pounds was a concern, evidenced by Koyack’s 16 reps on the bench at Pro Day. The top bench press among tight ends at the combine hit 38 reps and 11 different tight ends went over 30 reps.

For the sake of comparison, Eifert hit 22 bench reps at the combine and Niklas hit 27.

Koyack was Notre Dame’s first selection in a light draft weekend, the first time the Irish have had to wait beyond the fourth round for a pick since 2000 when quarterback Jarious Jackson was the program’s sole selection in round seven.

It’s the fifth time in the last 10 years that Notre Dame’s top draft pick was a tight end.

Koyack finished his Irish career with 20 starts, 44 catches, 532 yards and five touchdowns. He ranked among Notre Dame’s leaders in snaps played last season, logging virtually every play on offense and factoring into special teams.

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