San Francisco 49ers

Irish Eyes could be smiling upon Ronnie Stanley on draft night

Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (78) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wake Forest in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 28-7.
Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (78) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wake Forest in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 28-7. AP

Notre Dame hasn’t had a player drafted in the Top 10 since 1994.

That player, defensive lineman Bryant Young, went to the 49ers with the seventh pick. Tackle Ronnie Stanley could end that drought and – as fate would have it – might just go to the offensive line-needy 49ers with the seventh overall pick.

Stanley said the 49ers were among the teams he spoke to Tuesday night. Here’s his transcript from the scouting combine:

Q: Do you feel like you’re the best tackle in the draft?

RS: I always feel like I’m going to be the best, that’s the mindset I always have.

Q: Do you think Notre Dame’s offense, blocking scheme lends itself to the NFL?

RS: I believe so. We had a great offensive line coach and he really taught us great fundamentals and things that translate to any offense that you could be put into.

Q: On the importance of playing left tackle. Is he opposed to right tackle?

RS: No, I’m not opposed. I’m just trying to win games. Wherever a team wants to put me … Equally comfortable at both sides.

Q: On his position coach (Harry Hiestand) at Notre Dame.

RS: Not letting you play lower than your potential. He always made you play to your highest potential and the standards that he set is something you just don’t ever see too much in my experience. I’m just thankful for what he’s done, how hard he harped on the fundamentals and the little things. And he really made it an important thing for us to look at the little things as big things.

Q: On his combine goals.

RS: Um, I think I’m just going to do my best, see what the numbers are. I think I’ll be pleased with everything I do.

Q: What are you trying to sell to teams?

RS: My passion football. I don’t think many people know how important football is to me and how big of a role it’s played throughout my life.

Q: Does it matter if you go first overall?

RS: It really doesn’t. Whatever team feels like they want me the most, that’s the team I want to be on. And whoever picks me is going to be that team.

Q: Where he’s working out.

RS: With (athletic trainer) Travelle Gaines at his place called Athletic Gaines in Las Vegas. And really just overall strength. I’ve been working with Bob Wiley doing offensive line drills and watching film, just (working) on the technical staff.

Q: Question he needs to answer for scouts.

RS: Yeah, my passion for football. I feel like a lot of people don’t know the impact football has on my life before college and the role it played.

Q: Why do you have to emphasize that?

RS: I think there’s a big – I don’t know – aura of people thinking I’m lackadaisical, I guess. I don’t know, but I’m just really trying to show people how much football means to me and how much I do care about it.

Q: What about, on the field?

RS: Yeah, that I can translate what I did in college to the NFL, and also I’m going to improve, I’m going to keep trying to get better. I never feel I’ve made it to a certain point that I don’t think I can better. That’s something I always do is try to improve.

Q: Toughest opponent?

RS: Probably (Seattle Seahawks DL) Frank Clark. He’s a very high-motor guy, strong guy and very well-coached.

Q: What situation are you at your best?

RS: I would say I’m always at my best at whatever I’m feeling at the time. I always refocus myself to know what’s important during that play. That’s when you need to be at your best every single play. That’s my focus.

Q: About his critiques.

RS: I’m not sure of the exact source. I’ve just heard negative things that people think that I’m just a laid-back guy that just relies on his talent, doesn’t really love the game like he should. So I’m really trying to show those people what football means to me. And not to say those people, but the teams.

Q: Where have you heard you’ll go in the draft?

RS: Anywhere. Anywhere in the Top 10.

Q: Do you pay attention to mock drafts?

RS: No, definitely don’t pay attention to mock drafts. They’re usually wrong.

Q: Contact with Giants?

RS: Yeah, I talked to nearly 20 teams last night.

Q: On Notre Dame running back CJ Prosise

RS: Oh, I knew he was a play maker. I knew before he moved to running back he was a playmaker. We just needed to get the ball in his hands. He’s one of the most athletic guys on our team and one of the most natural runners we have. What we needed to do was just get the ball in his hands, and I’m glad he translated well at running back.

Q: What he wants from a team.

RS: Just to care for me as a person before a player. That’s pretty much the bottom line.

Q: If you’re going in the Top 10, why do 20 teams want to talk to you?

RS: The draft is crazy – craz-y. You never know what’s going to happen.

Q: On Notre Dame’s Top 10 draft drought.

RS: I didn’t know (the statistic). That’s not the main thing that’s driving me to be that next guy who’s (drafted) in the Top 10. I’m just trying to be the best player.”

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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