By The Numbers: Notre Dame and the NFL Draft. Who is Walt Patulski?

Staff reports
ND Insider

The 2021 NFL Draft begins with the first round at 8 p.m. Thursday in Cleveland. The second and third rounds will be Friday and Rounds 4-7 Saturday.

Notre Dame football has had a long and storied history of sending players to the NFL. Here are some notable NFL draft numbers for Notre Dame:


Notre Dame kickers taken in the draft (Bob Thomas 1974 and Craig Hentrich 1993).


ND players drafted by the Carolina Panthers, fewest by any NFL team.


Overall No. 1 picks from ND, tied for most all-time with USC and Oklahoma (DE Walt Patulski in 1972 being the most recent).

Former ND All-American defensive end Walt Patulski was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the first pick of the 1972 NFL Draft. He's the last Irish player to be selected with the No. 1 pick.


ND players selected in the 1946 draft, the most in program history.


ND players drafted by the Chicago Bears, the most of any NFL team (TE Cole Kmet being the most recent in 2020).

Former Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet celebrates with family after being selected by the Chicago Bears in 2020. He was the 42nd time the Bears have drafted an Irish player.


Total ND players drafted during Brian Kelly’s 11 years as head coach.

Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Quenton Nelson was the sixth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Along with Ronnie Stanley in 2016, it's the highest a Notre Dame player has been selected during the Brian Kelly era.


Total ND players drafted in the first seven rounds during the 11-year Lou Holtz era.


ND players drafted in the first round, behind only Ohio State (84) and USC (82).


Drafts ND has had a player selected, tied for most all time with Ohio State.


Overall ND players selected in the NFL draft, tied for most all time with USC according to

1946 and 1993

Years in which four ND players were selected in the first round.

Former Notre Dame great Jerome Bettis was one of four Irish players selected in the first round of the 1993 NFL draft. He went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers.


The last time a Notre Dame linebacker was selected in the first round when Bob Crable was picked by the New York Jets with the No. 23 overall pick.

Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) could become the program's first linebacker to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft since 1982.