April 29, 2016
CHICAGO - Two University of Notre Dame players were selected in the second round of the 2016 National Football League Draft Friday evening at the Auditorium Theater.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith was selected with the 34th overall pick (third pick of round two) by the Dallas Cowboys and center Nick Martin was selected with the 50th overall pick (19th pick of round two) by the Houston Texans.
Smith is the highest-drafted linebacker from Notre Dame since Demetrius DuBose was the 34th overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1993 draft. Smith is the fourth-highest drafted linebacker in school history. John Panelli was selected with the 12th pick of the 1949 NFL Draft, Myron Pottios was the 19th overall selection of the 1961 NFL Draft and Bob Crable was chosen with the 23rd pick of the 1983 NFL Draft.
Smith is the 10th linebacker in school history to be taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft and first since Manti Te'o was the 38th pick of the San Diego Chargers in the 2013 NFL Draft. In addition to Te'o, DuBose, Panelli, Pottios, Crable and Smith, four other Irish linebackers have been chosen in the top two rounds. The second-round selections include Courtney Watson (60th overall by the New Orleans Saints in 2004), Frank Stams (45th overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 1989), Greg Collins (35th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 1975) and Jim Lynch (47th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1967).
Smith, who started all 39 games of his Irish career, was named a consensus All-American in 2015 by the NCAA. He was a first-team pick by the Associated Press, Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and The Sporting News. He also was a first-team selection by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, CBS Sports and Athlon Sports, as well as a second-team choice by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Smith, the 2015 Butkus Award recipient, led Notre Dame in total tackles (114), solo tackles (68), assisted tackles (45), pass breakups (five) and fumble recoveries (two) during the regular season. He ranked third on the team with nine tackles for loss.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Smith was the first Notre Dame player with at least 114 tackles, nine tackles for loss and five passes defended since Courtney Watson in 2003. He was one of just three players at a contract bowl eligible school with at least 114 tackles, nine TFLs and five passes defended during the regular season.
Smith was the first Irish player with consecutive 100-tackle seasons since Manti Te'o hit that milestone for three straight years from 2010-12.
Smith turned in some of his best individual performances late in the season, recording at least 10 tackles in five of Notre Dame's last six games, including a career-best 15 at No. 9 Stanford on Nov. 28. In that game, the Irish held Heisman Trophy finalist Christian McCaffrey to just 94 yards rushing and 113 offensive yards, both his lowest totals over the Cardinal's final 11 games of the season.
Smith was Notre Dame's first consensus All-America linebacker since Te'o in 2012. He joined Michael Stonebreaker (1988 and `90), Crable (1980 and `81), Golic (1978) and Lynch (1966) as Irish consensus All-American offensive lineman. Lynch is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Martin is the highest drafted Notre Dame center since the Cleveland Browns chose Jeff Faines with the 21st pick of the 2003 draft.
Martin is the ninth center in school history to be taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft and first since Faine in 2003. In addition to Martin and Faine, seven other Irish centers have been chosen in the top two rounds. The first-round picks include Paul Seiler (12th overall by the New York Jets in 1967), Art Hunter (third overall by the Green Bay Packers in 1954) and Frank Szymanski (sixth overall by the Detroit Lions in 1945). The second-round selections include Tim Ruddy (65th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1994), Tim Grunhard (40th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1973), Dick Szymanski (16th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 1955) and Jim Schrader (20th overall by the Washington Redskins in 1954).
Martin, who started 37 of the 50 games over his Irish career, was named Notre Dame's offensive lineman of the year in 2015. A two-time captain, one of 21 in school history, Martin allowed only three hurries, three hits and one sack on 374 pass blocking snaps (98.1 percent) this past season. He was a dominant force on arguably the top offensive line in all of college football.
1,032: Rushing yards by first-year RB C.J. Prosise in 2015 -- the 17th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history
835: Rushing yards by RB Josh Adams in 2015 -- most in school history for a freshman
457: Rushing yards vs. UMass -- the best rushing total by the Irish in 23 years
299: Rushing yards vs. Stanford -- most by an opponent in David Shaw's five seasons (35 carries for an 8.5 per-carry average against nation's No. 22 rush defense)
168: Rushing yards by Adams vs. Stanford -- breaking the 40-year-old single-game freshman record
150: Rushes for Prosise to reach 1,000 yards in 2015 -- second-fewest in school history
98: TD run by Adams vs. Wake Forest -- longest play from scrimmage in Notre Dame history and longest rush by a freshman in NCAA history
90: Two TD rushes of at least 90 yards in 2015 (Adams-98 and Prosise-91) -- Irish had just two rushes of at least 90 yards in first 126 seasons of Notre Dame football
11: Individual 100-yard rushing games in 2015 -- most by the Irish since 1983 (11)
10: Rushing TDs by QB DeShone Kizer -- single-season school record for quarterbacks
7: Offensive plays of at least 70 yards -- most in the FBS
5.6: Rushing yards per carry -- a modern (post WWII) school record
-- ND --