After offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and receiver Will Fuller were chosen with the Nos. 6 and 21 picks in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night, Notre Dame could have up to five more selected on Friday, Day Two, at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Center Nick Martin, running back C.J. Prosise, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive tackle Sheldon Day, and linebacker Jaylon Smith all are possibilities when the second and third round of the NFL draft are conducted Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. EDT.
Martin, generally listed as the No. 2 center in the draft behind Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, could be next up for the Irish. The Colts chose Kelly with the 18th overall pick. No other centers went in the first round.
In the 2015 draft, Ali Marpet from Hobart & William Smith – a school in Geneva, N.Y. with less than 2,500 enrollment – was the second center selected. Marpet was the 29th pick of the second round (61st overall) by the Buccaneers.
The Redskins – with the 22nd pick of the second around (53rd overall) -- have a need at center.
Prosise has been a consensus top 5 running back in the draft since the NFL combine in late-February. The top two have been Ezekiel Elliott from Ohio State, who was the No. 4 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, and Alabama’s Derrick Henry, who should come off the board early in the second round. Utah’s Devontae Booker generally has been listed as the No. 3 running back in the draft.
The fourth running back drafted in 2015 was Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah of the Lions with the 22nd pick of the second round.
Last year, two running backs went in the first round (Todd Gurley to the Rams and Melvin Gordon to the Chargers) and two went in the second round (T.J. Yeldon to the Jaguars and Abdullah).
The sheer numbers at cornerback dictate that Russell could come off the board Friday night. Generally, 12-to-15 cornerbacks are taken within the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and Russell falls within those parameters. Fourteen cornerbacks were drafted in the first three rounds last year.
Thursday night, five cornerbacks came off the board – Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars with the fifth pick, Ohio State’s Eli Apple to the Giants with the 10th pick, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III to the Buccaneers with the 11th pick, Houston’s William Jackson III to the Bengals with the 24th pick, and Miami’s Artie Burns to the Steelers with the 25th pick.
Day plays at one of the most talent-laden positions in the ’16 draft – defensive tackle. Four defensive tackles were chosen in the first round Thursday night – Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins (12th) by the Saints, UCLA’s Kenny Clark (27th) by the Packers, Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche by the Cardinals (29th) and Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler by the Panthers (30th).
There were 11 interior defensive linemen chosen in the first four rounds of the 2015 NFL draft.
Day has been listed among the top 10-to-15 tackles (nose and three-techniques combined). He could be a good fit with the Seahawks, who have the 34th selection (a compensatory pick) of the third round (97th overall).
Hopes of the injured Jaylon Smith still landing in the first round fell by the boards Thursday night. There is strong speculation, however, that Smith will not go undrafted on Day 2.
There are four compensatory picks at the end of the third round, three of which belong to championship-level organizations (Patriots, Seahawks and Broncos) that perhaps can afford to take a chance on a player who likely won’t be available for action until 2017-18 but has tremendous long-term upside.