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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Will ND repeat its draft showing in '13?

By Matt Fortuna

On Thursday, Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith gave Notre Dame multiple first-round draft picks for the first time in 18 years. Chances are the Irish won't have to withstand another drought like that anytime soon, as they may just have players get taken from each side of the ball next April 25.

Notre Dame breathed a sigh of relief this winter when Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert announced their returns to school, and with good reason. Each is considered to be among the best players at his respective position entering the 2012-13 season.

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has Te'o as the sixth overall prospect in his early top-30 prospect rankings for 2013, and his colleague Chad Reuter has Te'o as the No. 2 inside linebacker prospect and Eifert as the top tight end prospect.
Inside linebackers aren't routinely valued at a premium, given the proliferation of the passing game at the pro level, but Te'o is a special player with extraordinary skills. He is athletic enough to roam freely from sideline to sideline against the run or pass while also providing a stout presence within the box. Given his unique skills and versatility, Te'o could emerge as a blue-chip talent by season's end.

CBSSports.com has Te'o as its No. 1 inside linebacker for the 2013 class. It actually has Eifert listed as the No. 1 tight end for the 2014 class, as he would technically have another year of eligibility remaining after this upcoming season. Still, the chances of him playing a fifth year in college are, to be generous, slim to none.

SI.com's Andrew Perloff, meanwhile, has neither player in his early 2013 mock first round.