Irish excited to test themselves against the best

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Irish excited to test themselves against the best

Notre Dame may be 12-0 and ranked No. 1, but make no mistake: they're major underdogs to Alabama in next month's BCS Championship.

While some players are drawing motivation from that status -- an "us vs. the world" mentality continues to resonate -- others see the BCS Championship as a chance to see where they stand against a team regarded as the best in the country.

"A team from the SEC, a team like Alabama, coached by Nick Saban, those guys will make you better all around," defensive tackle Louis Nix said. "Im just happy we get a chance to play these guys in the National Championship."

His defensive coordinator agreed.

"The fact of the matter is Alabama is king of the hill," Bob Diaco said. "Have you ever played King of the Hill? Did you walk up the hill and knock the guy off? Thats what weve gotta do. Theyre King of the Hill. They set the precedent for defensive football in the country."

Notre Dame's front seven might have the toughest challenge on Jan. 7, going up against an Alabama offensive line loaded with pro prospects. Nix may have the most important matchup, squaring off against All-American center Barrett Jones.

"That gives me an opportunity to better myself and see where I fit at in the country with other nose tackles that went up against him," Nix said.

While Notre Dame's focus is just on this one game, there's plenty the Irish can learn -- win or lose -- from Alabama, in terms of consistency within a program. The Tide will play in their third title game in four years next month, a fact which isn't lost on coach Brian Kelly.

"Alabama has been the benchmark for college football," Kelly explained. "... Were aware of the challenge in front of us. We welcome it. It's one that were putting ourselves in a position to go find out where we need to go from here."

Corey Coleman Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Profile

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Corey Coleman Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Corey Coleman (WR), Baylor

5’11” | 194 lbs.

2015 stats:

74 receptions, 1,363 yards, 20 TDs

Selection:

1st Round, 15th overall to Cleveland Browns

Scouting Report:

"Where He Wins: Functional athleticism helped Coleman win both “small” and “big” while at Baylor, and the latter is difficult to find with a 5’11/194 lbs receiver. Coleman will win contested catches, elevating over corners or adjusting with body control to haul in targets. Add that on top of vertical speed, quickness in and out of breaks and yards after catch ability, and Coleman has the tools to be an all-around receiver." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com 

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Check out NBC Sports' complete 2016 NFL Draft coverage here.

Stay up to date with RotoWorld's official 2016 NFL Draft tracker.

Taylor Decker Detroit Lions NFL Draft Profile

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Taylor Decker Detroit Lions NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Taylor Decker (OL), Ohio State

6’7” | 310 lbs.

Selection:

1st Round, 16th overall pick to Detroit Lions

Scouting Report:

"Loves to finish plays. His demeanor and blocking intensity can be difficult to find. I’m not an OL coach, but there are holes in his game: aiming points, sustaining blocks, etc. But I think his strength can compensate for those flaws." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Check out NBC Sports' complete 2016 NFL Draft coverage here.

Stay up to date with RotoWorld's official 2016 NFL Draft tracker.

Karl Joseph Oakland Raiders NFL Draft Profile

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Karl Joseph Oakland Raiders NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Karl Joseph (DB), West Virginia

5’10” | 205 lbs.

2015 stats:

92 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3 FF, INT

Selecttion:

1st round, 14th overall pick to Oakland Raiders

Scouting Report:

"Fiercely competitive with immense football character. Different teams may have differing opinions of how best to utilize him, but Joseph has proven he can make plays in man coverage or play disciplined enough to be trusted on the back. His average size and subsequent durability will concern some teams due to his aggressive, attacking demeanor; however, Joseph is talented enough to become an early starter and high­-impact safety down the road if the medicals check out." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Check out NBC Sports' complete 2016 NFL Draft coverage here.

Stay up to date with RotoWorld's official 2016 NFL Draft tracker.