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7th Round: Dan Santucci


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Santucci has made the rounds on the Irish front walls since enrolling at the school. He began his Notre Dame career as a defensive end on the scout team, shifting to defensive tackle as a redshirt freshman. He then moved to the offensive line as a sophomore, starting one game at left guard. He earned a full-time job as a junior, taking over left guard duties and closing out his career with 26 consecutive starts at that position.

Santucci was rated one of the top 100 prep players in the Chicago area by the Chicago Sun-Times as a senior at St. Patrick High School in Chicago, where he earned two letters in football at defensive end and tight end. He was an honorable mention selection on the Champaign News-Gazette, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune all-state teams. He was also named to the Catholic League Metro all-league team by the Chicago Tribune.

The team captain as a senior, Santucci recorded 62 tackles with 24 stops for losses and six sacks in 2001. He also played at tight end, averaging 15 yards per catch, with 13 receptions for 173 yards and one touchdown to help his team go 7-4, including a playoff victory (first since 1988) after a 2-7 finish in 2000.

Santucci started both ways as a junior in 2000, catching 25 passes for more than 300 yards and six touchdowns, as he added 58 tackles, 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage and eight sacks. The two-time all-league choice attended Notre Dame's summer football camp. He earned one letter in baseball as a pitcher and outfielder, and also played forward in basketball.

Santucci was recruited by Notre Dame to play on the defensive line. He spent the 2002 season redshirting as a defensive end on the scout team. In 2003, he appeared in 12 games as a reserve defensive tackle, but saw only one minute of action on that line (against Stanford). Most of his playing time came on special teams (67 plays).

The coaching staff felt Santucci's body maturity (added 20 pounds) would make him an ideal candidate for the offensive line. He shifted to offensive guard for the 2004 season, playing in 11 games. He logged more than 85 minutes of action on offense, earning his only start at left guard against Oregon State in the Insight Bowl. He also made 45 appearances on special teams.

Santucci started all 12 games at left offensive guard in 2005. He shared the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year Award with defensive tackle Trevor Laws. He helped an explosive offense that averaged 36.7 points and 477.3 yards per game (330.2 passing, 147.1 rushing), compiling 75 special teams appearances and more than 288 minutes of action on offense.

One of the team's top scholar-athletes, Santucci again manned left guard for the Irish in 2006. He totaled 325 minutes of playing time, allowing four of the team's 31 quarterback sacks. He provided solid pass protection as the team ranked No. 13 nationally, averaging 264.08 yards per game passing. He closed out his career starting 26 of 48 games, seeing action for more than 696 minutes.


Positives: Has a compact, squat frame with a very thick chest, broad shoulders, big bubble, wide waist and hips, thick thighs and calves, but also still has room to add at least another 15 pounds of bulk … Has only adequate quickness, but shows good knee bend and hip wiggle to work his way down the line … Shows agility and balance off the snap and is quick to recover when he lunges or over-extends on reach blocks … Very tough, hard-nose blocker who battles until the whistle and has a strong work ethic in practices and the training room … Knows all the offensive line assignments and, with his squat frame, he might be a better fit to shift to center at the pro level … Alert to stunts and twists and has the instincts to know when to retreat and protect the pocket … Keeps his feet churning on his initial charge off the snap and is able to adjust and recover from games … Has good short-area quickness to gain movement … Quick out of his stance, but still learning how to extend his arms properly … When he keeps his pads down, he is effective at maintaining position to wall off, reach and sustain his blocks … When he rolls his hips properly, he gets good pop on contact … Plays with a strong base, showing adequate balance in space … Can work to position and finish when he stays low in his stance … Has the leg strength to widen the rush lane, but needs to improve his upper-body power in attempts to clear the holes … Better run blocker in space than in-line, as he can get movement and locate linebackers … When he drives out through the hole, he shows ease of movement on his pulls and is better able to make contact with a moving target rather than stay stationary at the line to take on multiple defenders … Doesn't trap often, but he can track down defenders to hit … Will generally play the game on his feet … Works well in combination with the center in pass protection, doing a nice job of sinking his pads and anchoring to control the pass rusher … Needs to develop better hand placement on reach blocks, but if he gets a piece of a defender, he can shock with his punch … Shows enough short-area quickness to mirror and stay square vs. movement … Once he sets his anchor, he will generally stop the forward charge of the opponent … Very agile working down the line, showing good change-of-direction agility … Can shuffle and slide his feet with ease … Has only marginal timed speed, but shows good urgency getting out and locating second-level defenders … Also adds value as a right guard on the punt/field goal/PAT units … Does a good job of keeping his head up to scan for stunts and blitzes … Shows a quick kick slide to get out on the edge in pass protection.

Negatives: Needs to improve his upper-body strength … Has an adequate hand punch, but it is negated as he tends to short-arm too much and needs to be quicker with his hands in attempts to recoil and reset … Can log or lead through the hole, but must be more active with his hands in attempts to sustain the rush lane … Gets too wide with his arms and needs to keep them inside more in order to get better leverage … Plays with a flat back, good knee bend and ankle flexibility, but a lack of upper-body power prevents him from mauling the defender … Still learning proper hand technique, as he has only two plus years of experience as an offensive guard and needs some time to develop … Must be more active with his hands, as defenders are quick to get into his body (leaves his chest exposed) … Has a strong lower base, but can be walked back vs. a strong surge, as he fails to keep hand placement on the opponent … Shows good urgency, but does not have the speed to fire out into the second level and neutralize linebackers … Will sometimes cross his feet and narrow his base on the move.

Compares To: Brad Meester, Jacksonville -- Santucci is a scrappy, aggressive drive blocker with good pulling ability … He has a strong base, but needs to improve his upper-body power … He is quick to fire off the snap and works well on double teams … With his squat frame, he could shift to center at the pro level … He needs to add more bulk and improve hand placement, but appears to be a quick study who will make a nice mid-round find.

Sounds like a steal...

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an athletic OL with upside, smarts, toughness, and a nasty demeanor onfield. what's not to like? (other than the ol defense, defense, defense mantra)

uh...kinda sounds like the description for a lineman we recently lost to Cleveland......

from nflcountdown

Dan Santucci

Height: 6-31/2 | Weight: 301 | 40-Time: 5.13


A very good athlete...Quick and agile...Has decent size and a frame with room for more bulk...Very physical...Effective as both a run and pass blocker...Tough and a hard worker...Smart and aware...Plays with a nasty demeanor...Still has upside.


Technique and footwork will need refining...Could stand to add some weight...Is not overly powerful or stout at the point...Plays too tall and loses leverage when he does...He has to get stronger, especially in the lower body...Sub par balance.


Actually began his college career as a defensive lineman...He might also be able to play center...Has some intriguing physical tools to work with and he hasn't yet reached his full potential...Should at least be a versatile backup and maybe more.

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I really really hope that (1) Hartwell signs (2) we hear promissing news on either LB Thurman or Pollock or (3) our linebacking corps isnt as bad as everything thinks (including me) it is.

Don't say everyone thinks that. LB and WR are the two positions I would be really surprised if we drafted.

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Generic pick for O-line depth. He appears to have a lot of upside, so good deal.

To me the most interesting note is that he played TE before coming to ND. I don't expect to play TE here -- in fact I fully expect he'll end up on the PS -- but he'd be a neat addition to that "elephant" goal-line package...line him up as a blocker at TE and you have the potential for a little trickery.

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