Notre Dame hadn’t had a player selected in the first 10 picks of the NFL Draft since 1994 until the Baltimore Ravens took offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 pick in NFL Draft Thursday night.
And later in the evening, the Houston Texasn selected wide receiver Will Fuller with the 21st pick, giving Notre Dame two players selected in the first round for the first time since 2012 (Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith).
The 6-foot-6, 312 pound Stanley starred in his three seasons as a starter at Notre Dame, in which he started all 39 games and was the anchor for one of college football’s best offensive lines in 2015.
Notre Dame’s last top-10 pick was defensive tackle Bryant Young (No. 7 in 1994). While rumors swirled Thursday morning about Stanley possibly going as high as the third overall pick, the last top-five Irish pick was quarterback Rick Mirer (No. 2 in 1993). Stanley is Notre Dame’s first first-round pick since the Dallas Cowboys selected offensive lineman Zack Martin with the 16th selection in 2014’s NFL Draft.
For Stanley, being picked in the top 10 stands as a strong vindication of his decision to return to Notre Dame following his junior year. Had Stanley left Notre Dame after the 2014 season, he likely would’ve been picked somewhere in the middle of the first round, not the top third.
Stanley, who is represented by Roc Nation, is on track to graduate from Notre Dame with a degree from the university’s prestigious Mendoza College of Business in May.
Fuller developed into a dynamic offensive threat, totaling 138 catches, 2,352 yards and 29 touchdowns in his sophomore and junior seasons. The Philadelphia native declared for the NFL Draft following the conclusion of his junior season in January.
A complete list of years in which Notre Dame had multiple players become first-round picks:
Two first round picks
2012: WR Michael Floyd (13), S Harrison Smith (29)
1994: DT Bryant Young (7), OG Aaron Taylor (16), S Jeff Burris (27)
1993: QB Rick Mirer (2), JRB drome Bettis (10), CB Tom Carter (17), TE Irv Smith (20)
1978: TE Ken McAfee (7), DE Ross Browner (8), DB Luther Bradley (11)
1972: DE Walt Patulski (1), DB Clarence Ellis (15), DT Mike Kadish (25)
1969: T George Kunz (2), E Jim Seymour (10)
1967: G Tom Seiler (12), DT Alan Page (15), G Tom Regner (23)
1960: QB George Izo (2), E Monty Sickles (11)
1955: QB Ralph Guglielmi (3), T Frank Varrichione (6), B Joe Heap (8)
1954: T Art Hunter (3), B John Lattner (7), B Neil Worden (9)
1951: B Bob Williams (2), C Jerry Groom (6)
1949: QB Frank Tripucka (9), G Bill Fischer (10)
1946: QB Frank Dancewicz (1), QB John Lujack (4), T George Connor (5), B Emil Sitko (10)
1945: B Frank Szymanski (6), E John Yonakor (9)
1944: QB Angelo Bertelli (1), B Creighton Miller (3)