- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mel Kiper Jr. went through every single position among potential 2014 NFL draft prospects, ranking them Nos. 1-5. Notre Dame had a strong presence in his latter lists, some coming as big surprises and others not so much.
The obvious? That would be Louis Nix, whom Kiper tabs as his top defensive tackle . Saying that the Jacksonville, Fla., native is likely to play at more than 340 pounds this season, Kiper calls Nix a good player who has the chance to a great one.
Also catching Kiper's eye from the defensive side of the ball are Bennett Jackson and Ishaq Williams, each of whom makes his next-man-up lists following the top-five cornerback and top-five inside linebacker rankings, respectively. He says that Jackson is the Irish's best corner and should have another great season this fall , while he expects Williams — who is entering his junior season — to break out after the ballyhooed prospect has seen increased playing time the past two seasons .
Kiper ranks the top five offensive linemen in one group, regardless of position, before looking at the next guys up at each respective position, with returning Irish captain Zack Martin coming in at No. 4 among tackles .
The biggest surprise may come in the tight end rankings, where Kiper lists Ben Koyack in his next-man-up group, saying that the junior will make his mark this season without Tyler Eifert ahead of him .
Earlier last week, Kiper had Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch among his best defensive end prospects. You can see all of his position breakdowns here .
Colleague Travis Haney, meanwhile, calls the Irish the 10th-most talented team in the nation , using a formula devised from Mark Schlabach's post-spring Top 25, Kiper's top 50 draft prospects and positional prospects and the past four years of ESPN's recruiting rankings.