The NFL Draft will come and go this weekend and at some point, David Bruton will hear his name called, joining a long line of Notre Dame players who are drafted into the league. What might help Bruton -- and others -- is this: Guys before him, safeties he's played with, have been picked and no matter the round or the team have proven to be successful.
"I think it does. I think that, you and I talked last year about (Tom) Zbikowski and this belief he was going to drop down the board because of whatever the concerns were about him and then he shows he's going to be a player for Baltimore," NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang said. "He was flanked by a lot of talent there but at the same time he's a guy that showed some things. That helps.
"It just proves that Notre Dame may have struggled but they have some top talent and Zbikowski is an example." Zbikowski was a third round pick for the Ravens in 2008. He played in 19 games for Baltimore as a special teams player and reserve safety, making 26 tackles. He also returned five kicks for 118 yards.
Chinedum Ndukwe was picked in the seventh round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2007. He started two games his rookie year and then last year started all 11 games he played in, making 64 tackles, breaking up four passes and intercepting a pass.
In other words, there's a lineage now, at least under current head coach Charlie Weis. Barring an unlikely scenario, Bruton will be the third Notre Dame safety drafted in as many years.
"(Ndukwe) is, too, especially being a later pick and bucking the odds and making himself an NFL career is further proof that certain positions that can consistently churn out NFL-caliber talent, you can consistently start to look to those teams to churn out NFL talent," Rang said. "This could be, at least according to his Combine numbers, that Bruton is the most athletic of the bunch and the last two have obviously had some NFL success.
"That make you thinks that much surer that this guy will have NFL success."
It also bodes well for the safeties currently at Notre Dame, including fifth-year senior Kyle McCarthy -- Notre Dame's leading tackler last year -- and senior Sergio Brown, who mostly plays nickel back and could replace Bruton opposite Mike Anello at gunner. Brown, while he hasn't been a starter, is the most athletic safety Notre Dame has. Junior Harrison Smith would also have a shot at being drafted when he comes out.