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New Orleans Saints draft Notre Dame defensive end Isaiah Foskey, validating his 2022 choice to return to school

Check out highlights from Isaiah Foskey's big performance for Notre Dame against UNLV, which featured two crucial punt blocks and three sacks.

Isaiah Foskey returned to Notre Dame for his senior season with three goals in mind: To chase down the Irish career sacks record, to lead Notre Dame to a national championship and to improve his draft stock.

With 26.5 career sacks and now being drafted No. 40 overall by the New Orleans Saints on Friday, Foskey can consider two of those to be successes. A year ago, he was given a third-round draft evaluation while considering his 2022 plans.

Foskey joined former Irish tight end Michael Mayer in the second round, Mayer going five picks earlier, fitting as both were consensus All-Americans last season. Foskey finished the year with 11 sacks, matching his 2021 total but falling short of Justin Tuck’s single-season record at Notre Dame.

Foskey was a two-year starter for the Irish, leading the defensive linemen in tackles in both years. Arguably more impressive than his 26.5 career sacks were his nation-leading six forced fumbles in 2021. To try to one-up that in 2022, he was credited with two blocked punts in one game.

Replacing Foskey will obviously be a stiff challenge for Notre Dame. Senior Jordan Botelho and sophomore Junior Tuihalamaka will step into the Vyper end role, though their games are distinctly different than Foskey’s. His power and wingspan made him an intimidating force along the edge. Botelho and Tuihalamaka will rely more on speed and quickness, not that Foskey was lacking in those, either.

The ninth pick in last year’s second round, Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon to the Chicago Bears, signed a four-year, $8.7 million contract, per, with $5.8 million guaranteed.

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