NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
|03.19.12 at 10:31 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Wide receiver
School: Notre Dame
Weight: 220 pounds
Achievements: Notre Dame single-season record holder in receptions (100); Notre Dame career leader in receptions (271), receiving yards (3,686), touchdowns (36) and 100-yard receiving games (17); Belitnikoff Award semifinalist (2011); AP All-America second team (2011)
What he brings: Michael Floyd has everything a receiver needs to be a prolific vertical threat: great height, exceptional hands, precise route-running, fantastic leaping ability, strength and, after showing off a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, surprisingly good straight-line speed.
While at Notre Dame, Floyd terrorized defensive backs with his ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air using his elite size, leaping ability and exceptional hands, a skill set Patriots fans have been clamoring for since the departure of Randy Moss. Unlike Moss, though, Floyd is a powerful runner who can break through tackles and has a reputation as a solid run blocker. Also unlike Moss, Floyd doesn’t create great separation from defenders and projects to have a similar package of skills as Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe.
Floyd’s repertoire, however, extends beyond simply being a vertical threat, especially during his senior season, when the receiver dropped a notable amount of weight and improved his quickness in what turned out to be a record-breaking season. In addition to being the team’s top downfield threat, Floyd was regularly used on screen passes, short routes, throws over the middle and even as a punt returner, an unusual instance for a receiver his size.
Floyd’s stock has strengthened since the end of the college football season, making it unlikely for him to fall all the way to the Patriots’ first selection at No. 27. If the Patriots intend to call out his name on draft day, it will either be through trading up or Floyd taking an unexpected drop.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1
Notes: After consensus No. 1 receiving prospect Justin Blackmon, Floyd seems to have solidified his status as the No. 2 prospect in this year’s class, especially after crushing Baylor’s burner, Kendall Wright, in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.
Straight-line speed was Floyd’s biggest concern heading into the draft, but not so much after his impressive performance at the scouting combine. Floyd’s time puts him just behind Blackmon’s time of 4.46. Meanwhile, Wright ran a disappointing 4.61. Of course, the 40-yard dash is a far cry from definite proof of downfield speed. However, it does answer the question ‘Is Michael Floyd fast enough to be an solid NFL receiver?’ with a resounding ‘probably.’
Heading into his senior season, Floyd appeared to have major character issues, particularly after receiving a year’s probation from the NCAA after pleading guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving, in addition to two other alcohol-related incidents during his career. After pleading guilty, Floyd was stripped of his captaincy and banned from team activities for multiple months.
However, much like his on-field performance, Floyd’s off-field conduct improved significantly during his final year at Notre Dame. He was even reinstated as a team captain for the final game of his career, after performing many hours of community service and taking required alcohol classes. However, the most prolific receiver in Notre Dame history has a lot of work to do to convince teams that he has truly matured.
Here’s a smorgasbord of Floyd’s highlights throughout his Notre Dame career.