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Notre Dame TE Troy Niklas entering 2014 NFL Draft

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Notre Dame junior tight end Troy Niklas will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, a surprising decision for a player with major upside but limited production.

Niklas (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) played outside linebacker in his first season with the Fighting Irish but spent the last two years on offense, catching 37 passes for 573 yards and six touchdowns.

With quarterback Everett Golson returning to the team and wide receiver T.J. Jones graduating, Niklas was expected to be a focal point for a much-improved Notre Dame passing attack in his senior season.

Niklas is far behind the other standout tight ends in this draft class -- Eric Ebron of North Carolina, Jace Amaro of Texas Tech and Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington -- in terms of statistics but could prove to be their equal in athleticism and potential.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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