Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Monday, April 30

Walker Should Have Stayed

Darius Walker was rewarded for his decision to enter the NFL draft a year early with, well, nothing.

The Notre Dame running back was not drafted by anybody. That makes his decision to skip his final year look even worse than it already did, and it looked bad when he first announced it.

He eventually signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears.

The news was better for cornerback Mike Richardson. A guy who wasn’t even invited to the NFL Draft Combine in February wound up getting selected by New England in the sixth round.

“I try to keep a positive mindset through the whole process and hope for the best,” he said.

Richardson had sympathy for quarterback Brady Quinn, who was a projected top-three pick before falling to No. 22 with Cleveland.

“It’s tough to watch someone you have been close to go through something like that,” he said, “but we knew he would end up in a place that really needed him and where he wanted to go.”

Five other Irish were drafted, but only one got the news on his way to Dairy Queen -– offensive lineman Ryan Harris. He went in the third round to Denver and when the waiting got to be too much, he needed some fresh air.

And, as it turned out, a Blizzard. He never got it because Denver called, which is fine with him.

“I always felt that Denver would be the perfect fit for me,” he said. “I’m versatile. I can play guard or tackle. I’ve got speed and coming from a pro scheme, that will help.”

Also drafted were defensive end Victor Abiamiri (second round by Philadelphia), defensive tackle Derek Landri (fifth round Jacksonville), offensive lineman Dan Santucci (seventh round by Cincinnati) and defensive back Chinedum Ndukwe (seventh round by Cincinnati).

The seven Irish players drafted was the most since 10 went in 1994.

And so you know, the draft consisted of seven rounds and 255 players.


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