Notre Dame Football: 2013 NFL draft

Punter Ben Turk has been invited to the Houston Texans' rookie minicamp, Notre Dame announced, making him the 14th former Irish player to get a shot at an NFL following last week's draft.

The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Turk played in 45 games during his Notre Dame career, including all 39 in the past three seasons, averaging 39.1 yards per punt on 200 career boots. The Davie, Fla., native had a career-best 40.8 yards-per-punt average in 2012, and his nine punts of 50 or more yards were a career-best as well.

Turk is the eighth former Notre Dame player to hook up with an NFL team after not being selected in the draft, and there is a chance that he could re-unite with former college teammate Cierre Wood.

To recap:

Notre Dame did not duplicate last year's feat of getting two players selected in the first round, but Tyler Eifert did give the Irish their highest tight end selection in 20 years.

Eifert went to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 21, becoming the first Notre Dame tight end to be taken in the first round since Irv Smith went to the New Orleans Saints at No. 20 overall in 1993.

"This is such an exciting time for Tyler and his family," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "He was faced with a difficult decision following his junior season whether or not to return to school. Tyler returned for his senior season and that decision was rewarded today. He proved to be the best tight end in college football, solidified himself as a first-round draft pick and, most importantly, earned his degree from the University of Notre Dame."

Eifert was the first tight end to be drafted in the first round since 2011, when the Bengals took Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham 21st overall. He became the 64th Notre Dame first-round selection of all-time.

The fall of Manti Te'o, meanwhile, was a bit perplexing. The Alabama game, the Lennay Kekua saga and the combine performance obviously hurt the Heisman runner-up's stock, but few expected the Minnesota Vikings to pass up on him three different times late in the first round.

Then again, inside linebackers are not the hottest of commodities in the NFL, leaving the most-honored player in college football history still on the board going into Day 2, making him a virtual steal for anyone that late in the draft.

Video: Manti Te'o's marketability

April, 23, 2013
Darren Rovell discuss Manti Te'o's lack of endorsements due to the fallout from his girlfriend hoax and the linebacker's marketability heading into the NFL draft.
The Chicago Bears are the closest NFL franchise to Notre Dame, location-wise. Based on the fact that the Bears have the 20th overall pick in the April 25-27 NFL draft -- and on the fact that the Irish have two former players expected to go midway through the first round -- there seems to be a strong possibility of one of those players continuing his career just 90 minutes from South Bend, Ind.

That's certainly the vibe you get in looking at the latest mock drafts from Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, who both released their fourth versions of first-round mocks this week. Kiper has Tyler Eifert going 17th to the Pittsburgh Steelers, with Manti Te'o landing three spots later in Chicago Insider.

McShay, meanwhile, has Eifert going to the Bears at No. 20, with Te'o getting scooped up five picks later Insider by the Vikings, where he would be in familiar company with all of the former Notre Dame players in Minnesota.

Eifert is up three spots to No. 12 on Kiper's 25-man Big Board Insider, with Te'o up three spots to No. 17.

Kiper says Eifert could add a new dimension to a Pittsburgh offense that loses Mike Wallace, while Te'o could end up a reliable long-term linebacker for a Bears team that currently has Lance Briggs, who turns 33 during the season.

Both players remain atop their position groups in Kiper's top-5s by position Insider, with Stanford's Zach Ertz trailing Eifert and Georgia's Alec Ogletree trailing Te'o.
Todd McShay released his latest mock draft Thursday, with this one going two full rounds.

Both Tyler Eifert and Manti Te'o see their names come off the board late in the first round, with Eifert going to the Chicago Bears at No. 20 and Te'o getting scooped up by the Denver Broncos eight picks later, at No. 28.

McShay thinks Eifert can help create mismatches and take the Bears' offense to the next level, despite the fact they just signed tight end Martellus Bennett, while he says Te'o would be a perfect fit for a Denver defense that is strong up front.

Elsewhere, both players remain on Mel Kiper Jr.'s 25-man Big Board, with Eifert moving up one spot to No. 15 and Te'o dropping three spots to No. 20 .

Kiper says Eifert has separated himself among tight ends and is an underrated blocker, while Te'o answered questions about his speed and has enough evidence on game film to show he can be an immediate impact player in the NFL from Day 1. Kiper says the first round seems now like a lock for the former Notre Dame linebacker.

Both players remain atop their position groups in Kiper's top-5 by position rankings , with Stanford's Zach Ertz and Georgia's Alec Ogletree again coming in at No. 2 at tight end and inside linebacker, respectively.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Shortly after the tear, Jamoris Slaughter would stress himself out, overlooking the simple day-to-day goals of rehab and wondering why he had to rupture the Achilles tendon in his left foot during his senior season.

One month before the NFL draft, Kapron Lewis-Moore is more familiar with that struggle than he wishes to be, taking his frustrations to Twitter at one point after his January surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament he tore in his right knee during the Discover BCS National Championship.

"That was kind of after the surgery; there's nothing you can really do," Lewis-Moore said. "One time I just had a bad day. … But now it's just keeping mentally strong, and I can only get my film out there, and hopefully some of these scouts like what they see on film."

The two former fifth-year Notre Dame defensive players did not envision their college careers coming to a close the way they did, Slaughter's on the first play of the second half of a Sept. 15 victory at Michigan State and Lewis-Moore's in the second quarter of the Jan. 7 loss to Alabama.

Neither player participated in any drills during Tuesday's pro day, and both are hoping for the best as they await to hear about their professional futures.

"Me and Kap, we've had conversations because we're kind of in the same boat," Slaughter said. "You've got to just take it one day at a time. You can't push it too fast because the injury's going to heal on its time, so you've got to play your role and do all the things necessary to get back."

Slaughter estimated he is about 85 percent, and he hopes to be at or near full strength in the next month or so. He said he just started doing some small one-legged jumps, which has been his biggest obstacle on the road to recovery.

"I actually just talked to the Falcons; they have a workout that they do for most of the guys in a certain area of Atlanta and I think I should be in that area," said Slaughter, a Stone Mountain, Ga., native who has been working out at Wellness Performance Institute in Suwanee, Ga. "They bring most of the scouts out from Atlanta and then all the guys in the Atlanta area to do a workout for the Falcons."

Lewis-Moore remains some distance from doing any drills, but he is not conceding that his only options will come in the days following the draft.

"We'll see," he said. "I'm definitely going to stay optimistic for a later-round draft or anything because there's been guys in years past who tore ACLs and got drafted in mid-rounds or late rounds, so I've always got to keep positive."
In some ways, Tuesday served as both the end and the beginning for Manti Te'o.

Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay was on hand for Notre Dame's pro day, as were representatives from 27 of 32 NFL teams. There was just one general manager and no head coaches, but scouts will have more to report back on Te'o after he improved his timing in the 40-yard dash.

To read McShay's thoughts on Te'o and several other Irish draft prospects, click here .
It's true that in the overall player evaluation process for the NFL draft, a 40-yard dash time is just one number. But to NFL GMs, it's absolutely an important one, and the tenth of a second that Manti Te'o shaved off his 40 time during his pro day in South Bend on Tuesday could be the difference between a first-round and a third-round grade on some boards.

To read Bill Polian's full story, click here.

Manti Te'o runs 40 unofficially in 4.71

March, 26, 2013

Manti Te'o ran his long-awaited 40-yard dashes at Notre Dame's pro day on Tuesday and was a little faster than he was at last month's NFL scouting combine.

ESPN's Todd McShay timed Te'o at 4.75 seconds in his first 40 and 4.71 seconds in his second.

Read more.
Tyler Eifert is moving up on Todd McShay's draft board and Manti Te'o is moving down, while both held the same spots this week on Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board.

McShay has Eifert up to No. 16 on his board , six spots higher than last time. Eifert is the only tight end on the 32-man board, as Stanford's Zach Ertz dropped out since last time. Te'o, meanwhile, has fallen three spots to No. 28, with McShay saying the former Notre Dame linebacker is trending down based solely on film.

Eifert and Te'o remain at No. 16 and 17, respectively, on Kiper's 25-man Big Board .

Both players again top their position groups on Kiper's top-fives by position , with Ertz and Georgia's Alec Ogletree giving each the biggest pushes for his top spot.

Mel Kiper Jr. released the third version of his mock draft this week, projecting that, for the second time in two years, Notre Dame will have two players taken in the first round.

Kiper projects Tyler Eifert to go to Pittsburgh at No. 17 , with Manti Te'o going to the New York Giants two spots later. Kiper has the two back to back on his Big Board, which does not take into account NFL teams' needs. Eifert is No. 16 there , with Te'o at No. 17.

Both players remain atop their respective position groups on Kiper's top-five-by-position list.

Todd McShay, meanwhile, released his tier rankings , which break the nation's top 115 prospects down into seven different tiers.

Eifert and Te'o come in tiers 3 and 4, respectively, with Eifert the 17th overall prospect and Te'o the 26th.


Irish Flips Top TE Jones, Back In Top 10
National recruiting coordinator Craig Haubert discusses the impact No. 1 tight end Alize Jones, a former UCLA commit, will have at Notre Dame.