Ian Book heads to the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round, Notre Dame’s sixth pick in the NFL draft

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Drew Brees and Ian Book have simply switched spots. As the Hall of Fame quarterback joins the “ND on NBC” broadcasts this fall, Notre Dame’s all-time winningest starting quarterback will head to the Bayou after the New Orleans Saints selected Book in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday with the No. 133 overall pick. He joins a confusing quarterback room led by Jameis Winston with utility knife Taysom Hill as the incumbent backup.

In a quarterback-heavy draft, Book knew he would not be a first- or second-round pick, but there was some consideration of him getting snagged in Friday’s third round. Instead, a quick run of passers made it clear Book would not have to wait long Saturday.

“Those other quarterbacks are great, and they’ll end up playing on Sundays and getting picked up,” Book said in March when assessing the class as a whole. “I just got to control what I can control. I just want to go out there and just compete, have fun and the three things I want to show are leadership, accuracy and my playmaking ability. Those are the three things I pride myself on and think I do pretty well and can separate myself from some of the other quarterbacks.”

Book’s leadership won 30 games as the Irish starter, including two unbeaten regular seasons that ended with Playoff appearances. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes in 2020, actually a notch down from his program record of 68.2 percent set in 2018. And his playmaking featured 17 career rushing touchdowns.

Much of that work was done behind an offensive line that has already produced three draft picks. Left tackle Liam Eichenberg and left guard Aaron Banks went in Friday’s second round, and right tackle Robert Hainsey was drafted late in the third round. Along with linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (second round) and tight end Tommy Tremble (third round), Notre Dame has churned out six draft picks thus far, with former right guard Tommy Kraemer among those still waiting.