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Notre Dame Prospects Flash at NFL Combine

NFL Combine

Eight former Notre Dame standouts and leading NFL Draft prospects demonstrated their abilities for coaches and scouts at last week’s NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. We’ll explore the implications of the performances by Sam Hartman, Audric Estime, Javontae-Jean Baptiste, JD Bertrand, Marist Liufau, Cam Hart, Blake Fisher, and Joe Alt and how their showings at the NFL Combine will impact their draft stock in April.

Sam Hartman

Quarterback Sam Hartman had a solid week. His on-field performances, workouts, and interviews demonstrated his all-around qualities for the next level. While not considered a high draft pick, Hartman is a poised competitor, and his performance at the NFL Combine should be viewed as a success. His testing numbers from the Combine are 40-yard dash: 4.80 seconds; vertical jump: 28.5 inches; broad jump: 9 feet, 1 inch; 3-cone drill: 7.19 seconds; short shuttle: 4.34 seconds. Hartman’s time in the 40-yard dash ranked him right behind BYU’s Kedon Slovis (4.55), and Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed (4.82).

Audric Estime

Star running back Audric Estime stood out in multiple areas at the combine. He reportedly interviewed well, and his testing numbers were impressive. Unsurprisingly, he placed near the top of the position group in the vertical jump, broad jump, and bench press. He also looked sharp in position drills. While Estime impressed in Indianapolis, his forty-yard dash time proved underwhelming. Estime will likely work to improve in that area ahead of Pro Day on March 21. Estime’s testing numbers from the combine are: 40-yard dash: 4.71 seconds; vertical jump: 38 inches; broad jump: 10 feet, 5 inches; 3-cone drill: DNP; short shuffle: DNP; bench press; 23 reps.

Joe Alt

Offensive tackle Joe Alt is an elite NFL Draft prospect. He is among the favorites to be the first offensive tackle selected in the April draft. Alt tested off the board at the combine. Alt’s top overall test was the three-cone. He tied for the eighth fastest time among all offensive tackles since 1999. Standing 6’8 5/8 and weighing 321 pounds, Alt has size, strength, and agility. His full testing numbers are 40-yard dash: 5.05 seconds; vertical jump: 28 inches; broad jump: 9 feet, 4 inches; 3-cone drill: 7.31 seconds; short shuffle: 4.51 seconds. His 40-yard dash time was the fastest run at a combine or Pro Day by an Irish offensive tackle since 2010.

Alt appears right at home as a tackle. The unanimous All-American offensive tackle, however, was originally a tight end. During his first two years in South Bend, Alt played as a tight end and on the offensive line. As a junior, he played defensive end and tight end.

“For me, playing tight end was really helpful,” Alt said in a press conference at the combine. “I came into my athletic ability. I kept my feet quick and that was huge once I transferred to tackle, having that foot speed and that stuff already there. Once I transferred to left tackle, I kind of simulated into pass pro and it was really huge for me working on getting my punch and stroke down. That wasn’t emphasized at tight end. I saw it coming, my body was growing, and I knew that was where I was going. I started doing O-line drills when I was still playing tight end, so the change was pretty easy for me.”

Blake Fisher

Offensive tackle Blake Fisher had a solid showing at the combine. Fisher, like Alt, is expected to be a high draft pick. Among his testing achievements was a broad jump at 9 feet and 6 inches. That jump was one of the best at the combine. Fisher’s testing numbers are: 40-yard dash: 5.20 seconds; vertical jump: 28 inches; broad jump: 9 feet, 6 inches; 3-cone drill; 7.76 seconds; short shuffle: 4.73 seconds.

Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste entered the combine at 239 pounds after playing much of the season around 260 pounds. It was reported that he had food poisoning leading up to the combine and lost a substantial amount of weight. Despite the bout of food poisoning and subsequent weight loss, Jean-Baptiste tested well. He did not participate in a few of the tests. He will need to finish his testing at Pro Day. His testing numbers from the combine are 40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds; vertical jump: 34.5 inches; broad jump: 10 feet, 7 inches; 3-cone drill: DNP; short shuffle: DNP; bench press: DNP.

Cam Hart

Shutdown cornerback Cam Hart had an outstanding combine. Hart had one of the most impressive physical profiles at his position in Indianapolis. His testing numbers from the combine are: 40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds; vertical jump: 39.5 inches; broad jump: 10 feet, 10 inches; 3-cone drill” 7.12 seconds; short shuffle: 4.24 seconds; bench press: 11 reps.

JD Bertrand and Marist Liufau

Unfortunately for linebacker and two-time Irish team captain JD Bertrand, he was not able to perform for the coaches and scouts outside of the bench press. Bertrand sported a boot on the sideline after suffering an undisclosed injury. He recorded the second-most bench press reps of any linebacker in attendance with 20. Fellow linebacker Marist Lifau also had an abbreviated performance at the combine. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash, which is lively for the position. He also participated in position drills but will complete the other testing drills at Pro Day.

The strong performances of Notre Dame players at the NFL Combine have undoubtedly heightened expectations and possibly bolstered their respective NFL Draft profiles. As next month’s eagerly anticipated NFL Draft approaches, it is increasingly likely that these Notre Dame prospects will be highly coveted by the decision-makers at the next level.


NFL Combine
Photo courtesy: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports


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