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NFL Combine Recap: Notre Dame Stars Impress Scouts in Indy

Updated: Mar 11

Written by Connor D'Aquila ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter/X: @ConnorDaquilaIT

Photo - Kara Durrette/NFL

This past weekend, the future stars of the NFL descended on Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium to take part in the NFL Scouting Combine. Notre Dame was represented by eight players, including Joe Alt, Audric Estime, Sam Hartman, Marist Liufau, Cam Hart, Blake Fisher, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, and JD Bertrand. These players put Notre Dame in a tie for the eighth-most represented school with Ohio State, LSU, Missouri, and USC. Come draft night, ND fans should expect to see at least four players walk across the stage, and hopefully, Joe Alt will get his name called early on night one. Generally, the former ND players performed well at the combine, and below is a day-by-day breakdown. 

Day One 

The first day in Indy was reserved for the linebackers, meaning Marist Liufau, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, and JD Bertrand took the field for evaluators. Marist had a fairly strong showing, even if it may not move the needle too much for his draft stock. Most impressive for him was a 34-inch arm length and 79-inch wingspan, with the arm length being second best among linebackers and a number that will surely intrigue evaluators. The only testing he participated in was the 40-yard dash, where he posted a respectable 4.64-second time. His 1.59-second 10-yard split also flashed some of the burst we would see on the field, but neither of these likely were game-changers for Liufau. Especially in a group that had multiple linebackers running in the 4.4s, it was hard to stand out, but scouts already knew the athleticism and length they would get with Marist.

JJB likely did the most to raise his stock on day one, as he flashed some very impressive quickness for a player of his size. Especially after spending the morning battling food poisoning, his numbers were special. His 10-foot, seven-inch broad jump came in at third among DEs and his 4.6-second 40 time exceeded a lot of expectations. He definitely surprised a lot of people with his burst and athleticism, and do not think that scouts will overlook the perseverance he demonstrated through the illness. This performance should have been enough to secure him a look in the later rounds of the draft.

Finally, JD Bertrand stepped up to the bench on day one for 20 reps. This was third among a very limited group of participants and likely does not change anyone’s view of him. Unfortunately, he was seen in a walking boot throughout the weekend, so we did not get to see him in any of the running or agility drills. He did measure in, and his arm length was at the bottom of the group, which could be a concern for some. Hopefully, however, we will get a better view of his scores at the ND Pro Day later this month. 

Day Two 

Defensive backs and tight ends took the field on the second day of the combine, which meant cornerback Cam Hart was the only domer working out. Despite a somewhat lackluster 40-time compared to the rest of the CB group, reviews of Hart have been very positive coming out of the workouts, and it seems that teams are finally recognizing the talent. At 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, the size was immediately impressive, but he backed it up with very solid testing. A 39.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump stood out compared to peers, and a 4.50-second with a 4.24-second shuttle should not deter anyone given the size and film. As we might expect given his playing days in South Bend, reviews were also positive of his positional drills. All of this could make Hart a middle-round pick, which many could look back on as a steal.

Day Three

On the third day, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs began their testing. For Notre Dame, this meant Sam Hartman and Audric Estime got to work. While the focus of the media may have been on his hair, Hartman did post a 4.80-second 40-yard dash, which surprised many. With the top three prospects out of the throwing drills, however, they were the better opportunity for him to shine and move the needle leading up to the draft. The ball definitely looked good coming out of his hand, and he had some nice throws on the shorter routes, but some of the deeper balls could be a cause for concern. Next to someone like Joe Milton, there seemed to be a slight lack of strength and zip at times, but none of it was overly concerning. While I don’t think Hartman erased any concerns about his ability to process and work in a pro offense, this performance should not have been detrimental to his stock.

The story of Estime’s day was a 4.71 40-yard dash time, which was very disappointing. Last among all running backs, this could have a serious impact on his eventual draft spot. He redeemed himself a little bit with a 38-inch vertical and 10-foot, five-inch broad jump, but unfortunately, that 40-time will dominate the discussion surrounding him leading up to the draft. Audric has a chance to redeem himself at his pro day, and the speed he displayed on Saturdays in the fall will hopefully be enough to convince evaluators of his ability. Still, this will be a point of conversation and of concern for many, but the tape and positional drills should speak for themselves with him. 

Day Four 

To end the weekend, we got to see the offensive linemen flash what always turns out to be very impressive athleticism given their size. For Notre Dame fans, this was a look at tackle duo Joe Alt and Blake Fisher. If Alt had not cemented himself in the top 10 before the weekend, he certainly did coming out. He looked every bit the part of a future star and measured in at a staggering 6-foot, 8.5-inches. With a 5.05-second 40-time, 28-inch vertical, and 27 reps on bench press, nothing particularly stood out, but paired with very strong technique on the positional drills, it was the exact performance he needed. He also had the third-fastest three-cone drill and advanced statistics from the NFL show that he reached the fastest speed of any lineman in his first five yards of the 40, only further displaying his explosiveness.

Fisher likely didn’t vastly change his draft stock, but he also should not have hurt it. His 40-time was expectedly slow at 5.20 seconds, but he showed explosiveness with a nine-foot, six-inch broad jump and 28-inch vertical. His position drills also looked fairly solid, but the technique and fundamental concerns will always persist with Fisher. There is no denying he is an extremely talented and physically gifted player, but the biggest concerns still come from his tape. He should still be a day-two selection, and with some coaching, he could end up a star at the next level. 

Overall, Notre Dame players had solid showings at this year’s combine, but there were not any major needle-movers in the group. We should see a handful get taken in the draft and the remainder signed following, but this has only amplified the intrigue for this month’s pro day. Be ready to see Audric work hard to redeem himself and a number of others, who didn’t receive a combine invite, work to make their names known.


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