SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame continued its pro facilitation with three more draft picks for NFL teams in the final four rounds of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Another South Bend product was taken, along with two from Purdue and one from Indiana to round out the next wave of NFL talent.
Day Three of the 2020 NFL Draft saw Notre Dame’s Troy Pride Jr. selected by his home region Carolina Panthers with the 113th overall pick, Khalid Kareem drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals 147th overall and Alohi Gilman picked for the Los Angeles Chargers 186th overall.
With six players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, Notre Dame Football has totaled 511 draft picks over the tenure of the program. No other college football program has totaled more than the Irish.
They became the fourth, fifth and sixth Notre Dame players drafted over the weekend, following Cole Kmet (Chicago Bears), Chase Claypool (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Julian Okwara (Detroit Lions).
Pride Jr., Kareem and Gilman contributed to a defense that posted the most fumble recoveries and second-most takeaways in the FBS in 2019. In addition, Notre Dame has held 25 of 26 opponents over the past three seasons to 30 points or less. That includes ranked opponents LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia and Navy.
Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins was chosen in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Rams. Hopkins is the first Boilermaker tight end selected in the NFL Draft since Dustin Keller was tabbed by the New York Jets in the first round in 2008.
Hopkins, the 2019 Big Ten Tight End of the Year, a first-team All-Big Ten selection and semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, enters the pro ranks coming off his finest collegiate season. The Nashville, Tennessee native finished the year with 61 receptions for 830 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. It was the most receptions and receiving yards by a Purdue tight end since Keller wrapped up his senior year with 68 catches for 881 yards in 2007.
Having appeared in 48 collegiate games, including 15 starts, Hopkins ended his Boilermaker career with 130 receptions for 1,945 yards and 16 touchdowns. His career reception tally is the most by a Purdue tight end since Keller had 142 catches from 2004-07 and Hopkins’ yardage total was the highest by any Purdue player at his position since Tim Stratton had 2,088 yards from 1998-2000.
Hopkins’ selection is the highest by a Boilermaker since Kawann Short went 44th overall in the second round of the 2013 draft and he is the first Purdue player picked by the Rams since Fred Strickland was chosen by Los Angeles in the second round of the 1988 draft.
Purdue linebacker Markus Bailey appeared in 43 games at Purdue with 40 starts during his collegiate career. Bailey was chosen as the first pick of the seventh round by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bailey finished with 327 total tackles, including 229 solo stops, with 28.0 for losses and 13.5 sacks. His tackle total is 14th all-time in Purdue history, his solo tackle tally ranks 11th, TFL total tied for 20th and sacks mark is 12th in the Boilermakers’ record book.
Bailey twice led the Boilermakers in tackles for a season, finishing with 97 stops as a redshirt freshman in 2016 and a career-high 115 stops as a junior in 2018. His junior campaign proved to be his finest at Purdue, along with the career-high in total tackles, he led the Boilermakers with 5.5 sacks and was second on the team with 9.0 TFLs. In Purdue’s historic upset of No. 2 Ohio State on Oct. 20, 2018, Bailey returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown against his hometown team.
Bailey is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and graduated from Purdue with a bachelor’s degree in movement and sports science in December of 2018.
Indiana offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak was chosen in the sixth round by the Green Bay Packers. Stepaniak is the 10th Hoosier drafted by the Packers and the first since Concord High School’s Jason Spriggs in 2016. He is the fourth IU offensive lineman to be drafted in the past five years.
A 2019 captain, Stepaniak started 31 games (30 at right guard, 1 at left guard) and appeared in 41 games in his career. He graduated with a media degree in December. Stepaniak earned third-team All-Big Ten accolades as senior with 10 starts at right guard and one at left guard. IU matched a school record with nine 30-point games, set a program mark with 3,931 passing yards, and finished third with 5,626 total yards and 413 points.
The Indianapolis Colts picked a local player in Ball State offensive lineman Danny Pinter. The South Bend native and graduate of John Adams High School was taken in the fifth round by the Colts. Pinter was the first player from the Mid-American Conference selected draft.
Pinter came to Ball State in 2015 as a tight end. After redshirting in his first year on the team, Pinter made 11 starts at tight end spanning 2016 and 2017. He then made the transition from tight end to offensive lineman in the spring of 2018. Over the winter and spring months, Pinter added 40 pounds to his frame to reach 295 pounds.
At the right tackle position, Pinter flourished in his final two years at Ball State. He was one of only two offensive players to start all 24 games in 2018 and 2019. Pinter helped the offense average league bests in passing yards per game in 2018 (252.9) and total offense in 2019 (463.0). He became the first Ball State offensive lineman to earn first team All-MAC accolades since Jordan Hansel in 2013.
The Colts also chose Washington quarterback Jacob Eason, Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor, UMass cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, Washington State wide receiver Dezmon Patmon and Michigan linebacker Jordan Glasgow.
The Chicago Bears had five picks on Saturday and chose Tulsa linebacker Trevis Gipson, Georgia Southern cornerback Kindle Vildor, Tulane wide receiver Darnell Mooney, Colorado offensive tackle Arlington Hambright and Tennessee State offensive guard Lachavious Simmons.
Mr. Irrelevant went to the New York Giants, Tae Crowder, linebacker from Georgia.