The words are Zack Martin’s circa spring practice 2013 and they proved prescient tonight in Chicago for his former teammate, Ronnie Stanley
Asked to evaluate the sophomore offensive line prospect – just named the sixth-pick of the 2016 NFL Draft and newest member of the Baltimore Ravens – Martin, Notre Dame’s most decorated offensive lineman of the last two decades and a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his first two NFL seasons as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, offered:
“Ronnie is talented enough to play anywhere. Left, right, guard, tackle. He could probably play tight end. He’s that athletic.”
The pair played the 2013 season together as bookends on offensive line coach Harry Hiestand’s front – Martin on the left, Stanley on the right.
Now they share something else in common: the status of first round NFL Draft pick.
Stanley follows Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith (2012), Tyler Eifert in 2013, and Martin in 2014 as first round draft picks in the six-season Brian Kelly era in South Bend.
The Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas) product was Scout.com’s 66th-ranked player in the 2012 recruiting class, 11th among offensive tackle prospects. He started 39 consecutive games for Kelly’s Irish, the last 26 at left tackle in 2014-15.
Stanley earned the Notre Dame’s Offensive Player of the Year award in ‘15 and won the program’s Guardian of the Year Award one year prior, the latter of which annually recognizes Notre Dame’s top offensive line performer.
Stanley’s selection at No. 6 overall is the highest for a Notre Dame player since Rick Mirer was selected at No. 2 in 1993 and marks the earliest selection for an Irish offensive lineman since George Kunz was selected second in 1969.
He’s just the fifth Notre Dame offensive lineman to be selected in the first round since the Irish last claimed college football’s national championship in the 1988 season joining Andy Heck (1989), Luke Petitgout (1999), Jeff Faine (2003) and the aforementioned Martin in 2014.