Notre Dame has had an NFL prospect resurgence over the last eight years or so and a large part of that is due to the offensive linemen that the Irish have produced recently. In fact, Notre Dame has had six first round picks since 2014, and four of them have been offensive linemen: Zack Martin in 2014, Ronnie Stanley in 2016, and Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson in 2018.
That could continue with the Irish having four starting offensive linemen from the 2020 season drafted into the NFL this year.
Tackle Liam Eichenberg is considered the best prospect among them, while Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey, both potentially guards at the next level, were also invited to “the combine” this year, as was guard Aaron Banks.
Banks is also who CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson mocked to the LA Rams in the second round in his latest draft projection:
57. Rams: Aaron Banks, OL, Notre Dame
Here’s a little bit more from around the web on Notre Dame’s second-of-four draftable o-line prospects this year.
From ProFootballNetwork’s Tony Pauline:
Aaron Banks NFL Draft Profile
Position: Offensive Guard
School: Notre Dame
Current Year: Redshirt Junior
Height: 6’5 3/8″
Weight: 338 pounds
Arm: 33 1/8″
Hand: 10 1/8″
Positives: Large, explosive lineman who is best suited for a power gap offense. Fires off the snap, blocks with proper lean, and easily controls defenders at the point. Opens up the running lanes, anchors in pass protection, and blocks down on opponents, completely smothering them from the action.
Plays with a nasty attitude, keeps his head on a swivel, and always looks for someone to hit. Jolts defenders with a violent hand punch and easily knocks opponents from their angles of attack.
Negatives: Minimally effective blocking in motion. Cannot slide in space. Struggles to adjust and cannot hit a moving target.
Analysis: Banks is a big, powerful lineman with outstanding size. He plays to his measurables, but is not light on his feet, and will struggle in any system that asks him to move around the field. In the proper system, Banks could start at the next level.
From NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
Mass of humanity who’s able to cast his frame upon opponents and win with pure size at times. Banks can get a little lax with certain elements of technique and footwork but tends to counter that with his frame and strength. His core and base are rock-steady, as he’s rarely jostled by contact. He can create momentum with his size as a run blocker, but he’s not a great bender and lacks explosiveness into contact. Pass protection will get a little choppy against athletic interior rushers and twist games that force him to make quick slides to cut off his edges, but he has the anchor to stall bull rushers all day long. Banks has some physical limitations but should be fine as a potential early starter and Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) pick for a physical running game.
Aaron Banks projects to the NFL as a quality option along an offensive line. Banks, who is a multi-year starter with the Irish, brings plenty of experience to the pro game and is physically built to last on the interior. Banks offers a wide base, plenty of weight distribution below the waist, and some notable results as a power at the point of attack blocker looking to drive opponents off the line of scrimmage. Banks’ game is not without flaws and his projection will not be a universal one—teams that ask their interior line to play out in space often or play laterally to string out action will find Banks’ resume much less appealing than those that implement vertical climbs and double teams to generate interior lanes and space. The Irish guard does have starter potential; although I would consider his ceiling to be that of a mid-level starter at the pro level and only in specific systems that don’t bank too heavily on zone concepts.
Ideal Role: Scheme specific starting offensive guard.
Scheme Fit: Man/Gap/Power scheme.
One thing to note, though I’ll be the first to admit that it might not be notable, is that Notre Dame hasn’t produced a single quality “sleeper” at the position lately. You may see Martin, Stanley, and Nelson and believe that Notre Dame must only produce all-pro offensive linemen, but the only current starting offensive lineman who went to that school and wasn’t drafted in the first round is Nick Martin.
Since 2011, Nick Martin and Chris Watt (appeared in eight games over two seasons) are the only Notre Dame offensive linemen to be drafted but not go in the first round. This year, we could see four such players.
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