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Shembo, Jackson and Jones selected on Day Three of NFL Draft

May 11, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

Prince Shembo AP

Prince Shembo, Bennett Jackson and TJ Jones were all selected on the third day of the NFL Draft, making that eight former Notre Dame players selected in the 2014 draft. That’s the highest total in 20 years, when Lou Holtz’s squad produced 10 selections. Notre Dame’s eight selections were second to only LSU and matched Alabama’s.

Shembo was the first player to come off the board on the draft’s third day, selected in the fourth round with the 139th pick by the Atlanta Falcons. While Shembo spent much of the offseason circuit showcasing his versatility, the Falcons hope he can go back to what put him on the map originally at Notre Dame, rushing the passer.

In what might be a bit of a surprise, Jackson came off the board next. Selected in the sixth round with the 187th overall pick, the New York Giants took a shot on the Irish captain, who had a subpar senior season but still impressed the Giants with both his tangible and intangible traits.

“We think he’s on the come, he has some intangibles that we like, height, weight speed, we think we can hit on a guy like this who comes in,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “He’s the guy who’s a leader, can play on all your special teams while he’s still developing into a corner.”

Jackson is heading home, growing up in nearby Hazlet, New Jersey. Interestingly, former Notre Dame personnel man Tim McDonnell is now with the Giants as a scout, so he likely had some input in Jackson’s scouting report.

Last off the board for the Irish was wide receiver and team captain TJ Jones. Selected by the Lions just two picks after Jackson, Jones will join Golden Tate in Detroit’s receiving corps, with an eye on the third receiver job behind All-Pro Calvin Johnson.

“Very impressed by him,” Lions GM Martin Mayhew said about Jones. “Clutch guy. Play maker for (Notre Dame). Converted a lot of third downs and he was a guy they went to in the red area. I like him as a slot guy, running inside getting separation. I thought he had really good hands and really crisp routes.”

Jones probably stayed on the draft board longer than most expected, but is heading to a place that could be very good for him. He’ll have a familiar friend at the position in Tate and will have the opportunity to compete, all you can ask for as a sixth round pick.

The rest of Notre Dame’s draft-eligible prospects signed free agent contracts. George Atkinson signed with the Oakland Raiders, the team where his father played and currently works on the radio broadcast team. Carlo Calabrese signed with the Cleveland Browns. Dan Fox heads to New York, joining Jackson with the Giants. Tommy Rees signed with the Washington Redskins and Kona Schwenke signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

  1. 25kgold - May 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    South Bend Don’t Break! Go Irish!

  2. shaunodame - May 11, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    1a. Happy Mothers Day to all of the indispensable moms of all us crazy commenters who frequent this board, and an especially big one to Keith’s mom for producing the greatest sports writer on the internet.

    1b. I think Prince Shembo found a perfect home in Atlanta and their multi-scheme system on defense. They will absolutely use him to the best of his abilities. Same thing for the Lions and TJ Jones. He is an absolute steal for them, IMO, and will learn a TON from Megatron and fellow Irishman Golden Tate.

    2. Really happy to see my Giants land B Jax and Dan Fox. Both will have ample opportunities to make their marks.

    • dickasman - May 12, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      1a2bc. As far as the rest of draft goes, I’m still busy vomiting from watching Sam kissing his boyfriend. Yuck! I can’t believe I just watched my first gay porno on ESPN!!!

    • dickasman - May 12, 2014 at 2:28 AM

      Do you think golden Tate will kiss TJ Jones when he sees him like Sam kissed his boyfriend?

      • mcirish27 - May 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        You’re a real POS.

  3. onward2victory - May 11, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Pretty awesome to be tied with Alabama for 2nd most players drafted! The irony is that I expect next years team to be better than last years, but fewer ND players drafted in 2015. We’re just such a young team.

    • shaunodame - May 11, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      I don’t mean to keep beating a dead horse, but I really hope some underclassmen learn from the Tuitt situation before they decide to jump ship. (I intentionally didn’t mention Niklas [until now lol] because I think him going in the second round is a really good spot for him.

      • onward2victory - May 11, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        As of now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Russel and/or Daniels declared for the draft after the season. I think Golson and Day would be very surprising (Niklas status), but I guess that’s a possibility. Outside of those 4 guys I don’t think there are any other juniors on the roster that are likely NFL players. Maybe Koyak too?

  4. fnc111 - May 11, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Out of all the PFA’s, Kona has the best shot of making a 53-man roster. GA3 will shine in the preseason too. TR should go be a scout for the Bears.

  5. viktory2013 - May 11, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Shembo and Schwenke have a decent shot just based on their sheer aggressiveness; Atkinson could back his way in on his dad’s legacy but that’s a very big if. Fox, Calabrese and Jackson are badly overmatched mostly due to their lack of any measurable talent. And Turnover Tommy has a better shot at being elected Emperor of the Universe than making the roster.

    • ndgoldandblue - May 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      Emperor of the Universe. Sounds like a lot of responsibility.

    • ndfenian - May 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      I’m a Chiefs fan, so I wish Schwenke was a pass-rush threat also. He is pretty much just a run-stopper from what I recall, and I think the Chiefs are pretty good there. Who knows, maybe he will impress at training camp.

  6. yaketyyacc - May 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    so, are we developing a new innovation in college football, three and out, instead of four and out?
    for the very very few, a dubious move at best. is there a statistic that gives the longevity for the early outers? it is certainly important for college players to know their long term chances of early declarations.
    Money should not be the deciding factor, a fact surely deemphasized by greedy agents. perhaps, colleges can provide a counselor to assist these young men. coaches are too involved in shaping a winning team, and intentionally or unintentionally may be the best advisors.

  7. yaketyyacc - May 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    the last phrase …should NOT be the best advisors.

  8. gtizzo - May 12, 2014 at 7:21 AM


    I thought Bill Polian made an interesting comment when T.J was drafted. He said that if ND had been more settled at QB TJ would have been a second rounder. Mostly because Polian believed he would have been a much bigger target. His skill set made him a second round pick just not his production.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - May 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      too bad the commentator didn’t say “oh yeah? thanks bill, and if my aunt had a ___ she’d be my uncle.”

    • ndfenian - May 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      then again T.J. was in an offense, especially in 2011 and 2013 that threw the ball most of the time. You could argue that he had more of an opportunity to rack up numbers than a receiver at Alabama, LSU, Stanford, or Auburn would. Rees tended to throw the ball to the other team in the red-zone though..

  9. ndfenian - May 12, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    It was a great draft for ND, and it bodes well for the program. It reinforces two beliefs I have, one is that 2012 was not as fluky as cynics think it was. It is clear that Kelly has more NFL talent flowing through South Bend, and they are developing that talent. But it also shows how much of a disappointment the 2013 season really was, especially on defense. The team underachieved.

  10. irishdog80 - May 12, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I truly believe that other than Zack Martin, TJ Jones will be the most successful ND player from this draft. He works hard, has solid measurables, and got better every year he was at ND.

    • ndfenian - May 12, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      I like TJ a lot. Great hands, clutch player, he’s played in some big games at ND. The Lions are stacked at receiver though. I just hope he can make the team.

      • irishdog80 - May 12, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        I always rate clutch players higher than the guy that piles up stats in meaningless situations. TJ was definitely clutch and he has great athletic genes. The Lions need a reliable slot receiver and Jones fits the bill. He runs great patterns and he catches the ball.

  11. jem5b - May 12, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Al Lesar in the SBTrib says; “there’s a disconnect from the draft + free agents, and a team that finishes with 4 losses.” Hard to argue with that logic, and facts.

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