NFL Draft: Notre Dame's Daelin Hayes drafted by Baltimore Ravens

Michael Wanbaugh
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame defensive lineman Daelin Hayes was taken in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens Saturday in Cleveland. He was the 171st overall pick.

Hayes is the seventh Notre Dame player selected in this year's draft behind OT Liam Eichenberg (No. 42) to Miami, guard Aaron Banks (No. 48) to San Francisco, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (No. 52) to Cleveland, TE Tommy Tremble (No. 83) to Carolina, OT Robert Hainsey (No. 95) to Tampa Bay and QB Ian Book (No. 133) to New Orleans..

Hayes, a Rivals five-star recruit out of Belleville, Mich., was a workhorse during his time at Notre Dame, playing in 53 games dating back to 2016. His production numbers at times, however, seemed to fall short of his potential.

In a little more than four seasons, Hayes accumulated 95 tackles, 20.5 of them for a loss and nine sacks.

He returned for a fifth season after his senior season was cut short by a torn labrum. Since he only played in four games, Hayes qualified for a redshirt year.

A senior captain in 2020, the 6-foot-4, 261-pound Hayes had 17 tackles (six for a loss), three sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception.

Hayes’ leadership qualities at Notre Dame have been evident. Head coach Brian Kelly tapped him in 2018 to be part of the Rosenthal Leadership Academy and in 2020 he was named a team captain.

Notre Dame defensive lineman Daelin Hayes speaks during a celebration of Juneteenth by Notre Dame football players on June 19, 2020, at Notre Dame in South Bend.

During the social unrest at the onset of the pandemic in spring of 2020, Hayes emerged as a leader on campus and a voice for racial equality.

A linebacker in high school, Hayes bulked up in college so he could play the edge, rush the passer and provide pass coverage when needed.

"I feel,” Hayes said before Notre Dame’s Pro Day back in March, “like I'm one of the most versatile defenders in this class.”

What they were saying

“Hayes is an all-around player,” Brugler said. “He can play in space. He can play on his feet. He was so raw when he got to Notre Dame. He’s really developed nicely. I still think he has yet to play his best football.” — The Athletic draft analyst Dane Brugler

Golden Notre Dame moment

Hayes had five tackles, recorded two sacks and forced two fumbles Oct. 31, 2020 during a 31-13 Notre Dame win at Georgia Tech. The performance earned him ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week and Pro Football Focus Defensive MVP honors. He also got the game ball.

Irish defensive end Daelin Hayes runs the 40-yard dash during Notre Dame's Pro Day workout on March 31 at the Irish Athletics Center.

5 things to know about Daelin Hayes

1 — Winner of the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award and finalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award.

2 — Hayes was a semifinalist in 2020 for college football’s comeback player of the year after missing most of the 2019 season.

3 — Hayes joined the Irish as a coveted prospect in the 2016 class out of Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline. Rivals rated Hayes a five-star recruit, the No. 7 outside linebacker and No. 31 overall in the class. 247Sports slated him as a four-star recruit, the No. 10 outside linebacker and No. 133 overall.

4 — During the Senior Bowl in January, Hayes had three first-half tackles, including a shared sack of Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman for a five-yard loss.

5 — Majored in film, television and theatre at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame’s Daelin Hayes was a team captain in 2020 after missing most of his senior year to a torn labrum.