The 2011 NFL Draft ended Saturday night with Notre Dame having caused only a small ripple. Of the nine eligible former Fighting Irish players, only tight end Kyle Rudolph, who was selected in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings, realized his dream immediately.
The others now wait for teams to reach out via free agency once an increasingly muddled mess is sorted out with the lockout back in effect.
Nose guard Ian Williams, thought to go as high as the fourth round, and cornerback Darrin Walls, who seemingly raised his stock at Notre Dame’s Pro Day on April 7, were passed over through seven rounds and 254 total picks.
Linebackers Brian Smith and Kerry Neal, running backs Armando Allen and Robert Hughes, and receiver Duval Kamara were also passed over. It was just the fourth time only one ND player’s name was called since the first NFL Draft in 1936. The Irish only pushed one player through in 1998, 2000 and 2009.
“Beyond (ticked) off right now,” Williams tweeted after the fifth round.
With the NFL labor dispute taking several strange turns in the last couple of days, it’s unlikely that any of the eight former Notre Dame players snubbed will land with a team soon. As of Saturday night, teams were not allowed to contact free agents.