Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:19 pm
While the media isn't allowed in to view most of the workouts at the Scouting Combine, a select group of media members were invited in Sunday morning to watch the quarterbacks and receivers' positional drills.
With NFLDraftScout.com's top-four rated quarterbacks -- Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler -- either unwilling or unable to throw at the Combine, it was the pass-catchers rather than the passers who stole the show. This fact is all the more interesting considering that the highest regarded player at the position struggled to live up to his lofty billing.
Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon entered the week as NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated wide receiver and viewed as a potential top five prospect but a rather ho-hum performance Sunday morning may put his perch at the top in peril.
Blackmon demonstrated the strong hands and body control Sunday that he'd used to earn back to back Biletnikof awards as the nation's top wideout but it appeared that he was limited by the hamstring injury he'd cited as the reason he wouldn't be running the 40-yard dash this week. Blackmon had to gather himself a bit when cutting and never showed the top-end speed scouts would expect of an elite prospect. The key will be how much improvement Blackmon shows when he works out for scouts at his March 7 Pro Day. If he shows improved burst during the workout on the Oklahoma State campus, scouts will likely chalk up his Combine workout as an example of a player simply being limited by injury. If he isn't more impressive, however, Baylor's Kendall Wright and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd are very much in the race to be the first receiver selected in the 2012 draft.
Floyd certainly helped his cause by running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds (unofficially) at 6-3, 220 pounds and showing excellent hands, flexibility, and surprisingly precise routes. Whether it was drifting across the middle during the gauntlet drill, dropping his hips on quick comeback routes or showing the ability to track the ball over either shoulder deep, Floyd consistently plucked the ball out of air, quickly secured it and got upfield in one fluid motion.
Perhaps the surprise star among receivers, however, was Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill. Possessing a similarly freakish combination of size and speed as his Yellow Jacket predecessor Demaryius Thomas, the 6-4, 215 pound Hill was credited with a blistering 4.30 time in the 40-yard (unofficial) and showed the sticky hands and excellent body control he'd flashed as a big play specialist in Georgia Tech's triple-option offense. If there was a concern about Hill's workout it would be that he seemed a bit stiff when re-directing. His quick acceleration and top-end speed, however, were every bit as obvious with the ball in his hands as they were when he was running the 40-yard dash.
Of the quarterbacks throwing in the morning session, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins was clearly the most polished. While he does not possess a cannon for an arm, Cousins showed enough zip and excellent accuracy on the deep out and was particularly accurate on the post-corner route -- a throw many view as the most difficult asked of quarterbacks during the Combine workout. Cousins does the little things well. While other passers struggled with their footwork and release point, Cousins' has a clean set-up and delivery and consistently stared down the middle as he dropped back, mimicking the form he'd use during a game to look off the safety before turning to fire passes to the outside. Considering his four years starting experience, two years as a captain and experience in a pro-style offense, don't be surprised if Cousins enjoys a late rise up draft boards very similar to the one Andy Dalton enjoyed a year ago.
Two relatively unheralded quarterbacks also took advantage of the big stage to turn some heads. Southern Mississippi's Austin Davis and Richmond's Aaron Corp each showed enough arm strength and accuracy to prove that they belonged. Davis' touch on the deep ball was particularly impressive.
On the flipside, Arizona's Nick Foles and Houston's Case Keenum struggled. Each were erratic with their accuracy, especially on longer routes. Foles has good enough tape to withstand the disappointing workout. Keenum, short and sporting a 3/4 release, may have an uphill climb ahead of him to get drafted despite a sparkling collegiate career.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:25 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 12:44 pm
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, the second-rated receiver on NFLDraftScout.com behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, will not participate in the Senior Bowl next week.
Floyd's absence, first reported by Sports Illustrated, was anticipated by the Senior Bowl, which added Gerell Robinson to the 10-man receiving corps for the event http://www.seniorbowl.com/announced
Floyd could still travel to Mobile and participate in face-to-face interviews with teams and their scouts, an important aspect of the event that takes place in the evening hours until most scouts leave town on Thursday. Given the significant red flags he raised with three off-field incidents involving alcohol while at Notre Dame, Floyd would be wise to show accountability and maturity by making himself available to face questions he must know are coming from pro evaluators ready to sink millions into his future.
Floyd combination of size and agility will keep him in the top three receivers available, but Baylor's Kendall Wright could be preferred over Floyd by some teams because of his blazing speed and advanced route-running. The big difference -- size. Floyd is likely to run in the 4.5 range at 6-3, 224. Wright, Baylor's all-time leading receiver, is just 5-10, 195, but might clock closer to 4.4 in the 40.
Floyd was projected to be a late first-round pick in 2011 but chose to return for his senior season.
He closed the season with an exclamation point -- 35 catches in his final three regular-season games -- and had 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, including this circus catch in the Champs Sports Bowl against Notre Dame http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9liJMCLHjU
Posted on: December 30, 2011 12:04 am
With a come from behind victory over Notre Dame in Thursday night's Champ Sports Bowl, the Florida State Seminoles took a significant step towards re-establishing themselves as a national force.
Unfortunately, redshirt sophomore cornerback Xavier Rhodes, one of the key players expected to help the Seminoles take the next step in 2012, suffered an ugly knee injury in the third quarter that could impact his ability for next season.
Though an ESPN sideline reporter characterized the injury as a "sprained knee" during the telecast, a source at the game said the injury "looks bad" and anticipated an MRI being ordered for Rhodes Friday.
Though only a redshirt sophomore, Rhodes had already established himself as one of the more intriguing press cornerback prospects in the country. The 6-1, 215 pound Rhodes had been enjoying a strong game matched up one on one with Notre Dame star Michael Floyd, proving the hype he'd begun to build with his play was well deserved. Though targeted on several occasions, Rhodes had helped limit Floyd, NFLDraftScout.com's top senior receiver for the 2012 draft, to only 3 catches for 22 yards in over a half of work.
On the play in which he was injured Rhodes collided with Floyd and safety LaMarcus Joyner competing for a pass down the left sideline. All three players hit the ground hard.
Rhodes initially popped up quickly off the sideline but then dropped suddenly to the ground, grasping his left knee in obvious pain. Florida State doctors quickly converged on him, and after a few moments, carefully helped off the field. Quickly thereafter it was announced that Rhodes had been ruled him out for the rest of the game with a sprained knee.
Floyd was able to return for a few plays, catching two passes for 19 yards, including a juggling five yard toughdown on the drive. He was limited the rest of the game due to what an ESPN sideline reporter characterized as a shot taken to his midsection. His absence clearly limited the Irish offense as they were out-scored 15-0 in the fourth quarter and eventually lost 18-14.
Floyd's inability to get back onto the field was disappointing. His injury, however, isn't likely to have any real effect on his pro stock.
For Rhodes, who some suggest had requested a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee, the extent of his injury could have a much greater impact.
Including the Champs Sports Bowl, Rhodes recorded 43 tackles in 2011. He also defended five passes, with one interception this season.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 12:46 pm
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is a talented player that head coach Brian Kelly would no doubt love to feature in 2011.
Unless, Floyd is willing to focus his attention on becoming a better player, rather than partying, however, Kelly sounds willing to look elsewhere for big plays in the passing game -- at least according to Eric Hansen's report in the South Bend Tribune.
Hansen quotes Kelly as saying,
“We’re looking at Mike [Floyd] as an ‘all in or not’ situation.” “In other words, he’s changing his life or he’s not. If he changes the way he’s lived his life, he’ll play every game for us. If he doesn’t, he won’t play one down here at Notre Dame. “He is at that level. This is not, ‘I’m going to slap you on the hand and sit you for two games’ — because I don’t want to read about him in a year, where it says, ‘Ex-Notre Dame player arrested for X-Y-Z.’ That will be a failing on my part if that happens.”
Further in the article, Kelly explains some of the steps that Floyd has taken to earn back his position on the team.
“He had a number of things he had to take care of, and he’s checking off the boxes,” Kelly said. “But he’s got a number that are still out there.
Floyd, already Notre Dame's career leader in touchdown catches (28) and ranking second in school history in catches (171) and third in receiving yards (2,539), has been had three alcohol-related run-ins since signing with the Irish in 2008.
Floyd's latest arrest (March 20) was for suspicion of a DUI and generated plenty of speculation that he'd be kicked off the team. According to Hansen, Floyd was arrested with a blood-alcohol content of 0.19%. Indiana's legal limit is 0.08.
Floyd strongly considered leaving Notre Dame after his junior season for the 2011 NFL Draft. The team and Sun Bowl MVP likely would have been a second round pick. Should he elect to participate in this summer's Supplemental Draft, he'd likely fall a round or two further.
To keep even this grade, he'll need to resurrect his image - which may or may not occur at Notre Dame.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 2:15 pm
The future of Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd's career is uncertain following an arrest early Sunday morning by campus police on a charge of drinking and driving, according to a report from Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune.
Floyd surprised many by announcing he would return for his senior season, but now his ability to play for the Irish in 2011 is in serious doubt. This is Floyd's second arrest since signing with Notre Dame. He was previously arrested for underage drinking in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minn.
As Hansen notes in his article, Notre Dame's athletic department does not investigate or determine the extent of any suspension handed down to their athletes. The Office of Residence Life makes these calls. Its prior track record suggests that Floyd could be suspended for the entire 2011 season due to this being his second offense.
Should Floyd be suspended for the season, his options could be limited. Transferring to another school is a possibility, though he'd have to transfer to a lower level university to be eligible to play this season. He is currently the No. 3-rated prospect overall for the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com, and the top-rated wide receiver.
The NFL's Supplemental Draft has often been used as a sanctuary for prospects whose grades or other off-field issues have impacted their collegiate eligibility. Since Floyd missed the deadline for underclassmen to declare for April's draft, this would normally be an option he could consider. Last year, two players -- BYU running back Harvey Unga and Illinois' defensive tackle Joshua Brent-Price -- were each selected in the seventh round of the Supplemental Draft.
Floyd may have picked the worst possible time to be forced into considering the Supplemental Draft, however... since there may not be one.
Like everything else other than April's draft, the Supplemental Draft could be at the mercy of labor negotiations between the NFL owners and its players.
One high-ranking NFL source wasn't sure if the Supplemental Draft was part of the NFL's calendar at this point, adding that he "[didn't] think the league office even knows [that] right now."
A call to the league office for further comment and/or confirmation was not immediately returned.
The 6-3, 225-pound Floyd caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He was especially impressive matched up against Miami cornerback Brandon Harris - a potential first-round pick this year - in Notre Dame's Sun Bowl victory against the Hurricanes. In that contest, Floyd caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 12:39 pm
In today's era of corporate sponsored bowl games often pitting "small school" teams, there is something refreshing about the Miami/Notre Dame matchup in this afternoon's Sun Bowl.
The Hurricanes and Fighting Irish have obviously had their on and off-field struggles this year. Randy Shannon's firing and the tragic death of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame student killed while attempting to film Irish practices, have dominated the headlines.
For NFL scouts, however, the story remains the same. Miami and Notre Dame, as always, feature plenty of NFL talent.
In fact, one of the most intriguing one on one matchups of the bowl season will be on display when Hurricane cornerback Brandon Harris and Irish wideout Malcolm Floyd, a pair of first round caliber juniors, face off.
They may be the most entertaining matchup, but there is plenty of other prospects to keep an eye on. The following is the list of top prospects in today's game to focus on, courtesy of my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter.
--Notre Dame DT Ian Williams (6-2, 305, 5.17): The wide-body nose tackle has missed the last four contests but expects to suit up in his last college game.
--Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (6-3, 228, 4.52): If his leg is healthy and he's on the same page as freshman QB Tommy Rees, Floyd will use his big body against fellow junior prospect CB Brandon Harris.
--Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph (6-5, 265, 4.64): A hamstring tear ended Rudolph's season early and he won't be on the field today, but the junior could wind up as the first tight end drafted, whether he elects to leave school early this year or return for his senior campaign.
--Miami (Fla.) DE Allen Bailey (6-4, 285, 4.79): Excellent athlete who flashes pass rush (seven sacks) across from junior DE Adewale Ojomo, but needs to have a consistently strong effort against an average Irish line to impress scouts.
--Miami ILB Colin McCarthy (6-2, 240, 4.67): Heady, versatile, productive (106 tackles, 10 for loss) player scouts believe can play inside or on the strong side at the next level.
--Miami WR Leonard Hankerson (6-3, 208, 4.52): Tall strider who can stretch the field, but faces a strong corner in Notre Dame's Darrin Walls.
--Miami LT Orlando Franklin (6-7, 315, 5.30): Impressive just stepping off the bus, if Franklin's footwork begins to match his strength, he could become a starting NFL left tackle.
--Miami CB Brandon Harris (5-11, 195, 4.45): A highly touted prep prospect, Harris has emerged as the latest in a long line of Miami defensive backs worthy of first round consideration. Only a junior.
This game begins at 2pm EST and will be televised by CBS.
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 1:19 pm
On this winter holiday for many, I thought I've provide my readers with my own gift, of sorts.
The following are the five individual matchups I'm most looking forward to scouting over the upcoming bowl games.
West Virginia FS Robert Sands vs. NC State QB Russell Wilson: The 6-4, 221 pound Sands is considering leaving WVU after this, his junior season. Sands is allowed to freelance a bit in the Mountaineers' 3-3-5 defense, but is a natural playmaker who can bring the thunder as a hitter. His instincts and coverage skills will be tested against Wilson. A strong game by Sands could push him into the 2011 draft, where he'd rate among the best free safeties in a weak class needing help from the juniors if there are to be many candidates worthy of a top 75 grade. This game is scheduled for 6:30 pm EST on Tuesday, December 28th.
Washington WR Jermaine Kearse vs. Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara: Many will point to Husky quarterback Jake Locker as the player to watch in this contest and for good reason. His 4 of 20 performance in the team's first matchup in October is considered by some to be the game that sent his stock sliding this year. (Loyal readers know that is not necessarily the case.) The reality is, without sudden and massive improvement by Washington's offensive line, Nebraska's defense should again be too much to provide Locker a chance in this game. If the 6-2, 205 pound Kearse, however, is able to shake free early for some big plays against Amukamara, Locker and the Huskies have a chance. Locker relies on the junior as his favorite target. When Kearse has been shut down, so too (generally) has Locker -- making this one on one battle a key in the most anticipated rematch of the bowl season. This game is scheduled for 10 pm EST on Thursday, December 30th.
Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd vs. Miami CB Brandon Harris: Both the 6-3, 228 pound Floyd and the 5-11, 195 pound Harris are expected to leave for the NFL following this game. Harris has the agility, speed and physicality to eliminate most receivers, but Floyd's significant size advantage makes this an intriguing test for the Canes' star. Though teams are often hesitant to move around their corners to match up all game long against wide receivers, eliminating the big play Floyd from Notre Dame's arsenal might be the easiest way of crippling Brian Kelly's offense. This game is scheduled for 2 pm EST on Friday, December 31st.
TCU OT Marcus Cannon vs. Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt: Last year it was the one on one matchup between Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan and Iowa left tackle Bryan Bulaga that in my mind was the elite battle of the bowl season. This year it is Cannon and Watt. Watt is moved all over the Badgers' defensive line and it is this versatility that has been maddening for opponents to protect against and left NFL scouts salivating at his versatility in the pros. Watt, however, will have his hands full when playing against the Horned Frogs' left tackle, a 6-5, 350 pound behemoth with shockingly quick feet. Bulaga shut down Morgan last year, cementing his place in the first round. I have Cannon firmly in the second round, at this point, but if he's able to slow down Watt, arguably the most dominant defensive lineman in the country, he'll skyrocket up draft boards. This game is scheduled for 5 pm EST on Saturday, January 1st.
Auburn QB Cam Newton vs. Oregon ILB Casey Matthews: Opponents have tried to keep a "spy" in to protect against Cam Newton's running all game long. The strategy has largely failed despite the fact that defenses have often resorted to their most athletic linebackers or physical safeties to do the job. Matthews isn't a spectacular athlete or terribly physical, but he might be the most instinctive linebacker in the country and among the surer tacklers. This one on one battle could dictate how well Newton is able to move the Auburn offense with his legs -- which could wind up as the key to the BCS Championship. This game is scheduled for 8:30 pm EST on Monday, January 10th.
On behalf of the entire NFLDraftScout.com crew of analysts Chad Reuter and Chris Steuber, editors Derek Harper and Jeff Reynolds, website tech expert Brian Hitterman and publisher Frank Cooney I wish you and your loved ones a very safe, happy and (hopefully football-filled) holiday season.
As always for the very best in pro football draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:32 pm
As you can imagine, I spent a great deal of time poring over tape and conversing with scouts before releasing my Top 32 Pro Prospects regardless of their draft class.
Some of who may be wondering why there is no Jake Locker (Washington QB) or Michael Floyd (Notre Dame WR) or Janoris Jenkins (Florida CB) on the list. Did I forget them or simply rank others ahead of them?
The quick answer is that I considered everyone but there were some tough cuts to the list. Here are the next 5 players that just missed out. Some were even among my original Top 32 but were late cuts due to questions about their size or readiness for the pros.
33. ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State: Burfict, only a true sophomore, just missed out on my original Top 32 article. Fans across the country may not know him or only know him due to his penchant for picking up personal fouls at the worst possible times, but in my opinion Dennis Erickson has the most explosive inside linebacker in the country and a future 1st round pick.
34. OT Tyron Smith, Southern Cal: Considering that all 24 of his career starts have come at right tackle and that his lanky frame (6-5, 285) and quick feet make him better suited on the left side, I am not among those who feel Smith should leave after this, his junior season. There is no denying Smith's upside, however, which is why I was included him in my latest projection of the 2011 first round.
35. OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State: The Seminoles' senior left guard - and my choice for the 2010 Outland Trophy - is among the better guard prospects I've scouted due to extraordinary balance and footwork. The problem is, at only 6-2, 284 pounds, he's so much smaller than most he's going to struggle against the behemoth DTs in the NFL. If correctly placed in a zone-blocking scheme, however, I have no doubt his agility will make up for it.
36. RB Michael Dyer, Auburn: South Carolina true freshman Marcus Lattimore made my Top 32, but Dyer, also in the class of 2014, isn't far behind. While I love Lattimore's physicality, Dyer could ultimately emerge as the better pro prospect because his agility and compact frame make him less likely to absorb the same punishment as the Gamecocks' star. His stats (950 rushing yards, 5 TDs) don't do him justice. This kid is a future superstar.
37. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State : Paea was on my original list, but the 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year slipped amid concerns about his size (6-1, 312) and ability to pressure the passer. I love his strength inside and feel he can make an immediate impact in the pros. Considering he only played one season of football in high school, there is still a lot of upside here.