While the chances of the Colts drafting one of the big name receivers took a big hit last night with the signing of Reggie Wayne, it's still a position with glaring holes, and one that is important in the development of a young QB. One of the best receivers in this year's draft class is a guy I'm quite familiar with, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.
In a draft class full of big receivers, Floyd stands out above them, measuring in at over 6'2 1/2" and 220 pounds, making him a giant target. His hands got progressively better over the years, and I think they underutilized his skills in his final two years. Watching some highlights when he had Jimmy Clausen throwing him the ball, he consistently beat coverage down the field, when he had a QB that could throw it to him. Tommy Rees doesn't quite have the arm strength to do that, so they ran a lot more of the short passes and slants, which Floyd was also very good at.
Floyd holds pretty much every receiving record imaginable at Notre Dame, including receptions (271), yards (3686), and touchdowns (37) in 43 career games for the Fighting Irish. Last season he had a nice even 100 catches for 1147 yards and 9 touchdowns, and that's with every defensive coordinator knowing he was getting the ball. He also went over 1000 yards in his junior season. If you're looking for productivity over an entire four-year career, look no further than Floyd.
The biggest difference I saw in him over his final season was his ability, and willingness, to run block, something that will not be ignored by the new Colts coaching staff. I asked him about that at the Combine:
I just figured I wanted to be an all-around wide receiver. A lot of people say wide receivers don't like to block. I wanted to put that into my whole arsenal. Having a good running game this year at Notre Dame, you never know when the running back can bust out of a hole and make a big play.
Floyd also volunteered himself to return some punts last season, as Notre Dame was ranked dead last in the NCAA in punt return yardage. Really, it was awful. But Floyd wanted to help in any way possible, and didn't get a chance to actually return one until the bowl game, where he ripped off a 41 yard return, which I think was more punt return yards than ND had all season up to that point (yes, it was that bad).
You also can't talk about Floyd without bringing up the multiple run-ins with the law due to alcohol. The first two were "Underage Drinking", both at home in Minneapolis, once after his Freshman season and once right after his Sophomore season, where a fight broke out, which he was not involved in, but was ticketed. While monumentally stupid, I'm not going to kill a college kid for drinking.
His third offense, however, was very serious and made National headlines, when he was arrested for a DWI back in March of 2011. He blew a 0.19 while driving on campus at Notre Dame. He was suspended from the team indefinitely, missed the entire spring practice season, and his status with the team was very much up in the air if he didn't change his life. What did he do to change?
I went out less. That was probably it. Just kind of changed the whole environment around me. Friends. Just guys that I wouldn't have to be in that position of having to do things that would potentially put me in a troubled positions. I went to alcohol classes at school with a certain counselor with a whole bunch of kids from Notre Dame that were kind of going through some problems, too. It was a good experience and I liked it.
If you listen to the Combine Audio, you can hear some of the ridiculous questions he was being asked about it, sometimes 5 and 6 times.
Floyd also suffered a couple injuries while at ND, breaking his collarbone as a Sophomore when he came down hard after catching a TD (and he hung on), missing four games. He also pulled out of the Senior Bowl this year, and never gave a reason why. He tweaked something in the bowl game against Florida State, and didn't play in the 4th quarter, but I can only speculate why he missed the Senior Bowl. Maybe he felt he didn't need it.
When this guy is 100% healthy, look out because he possesses the kind of athletic and physical skill set needed to consistently win on the outside at the next level. Blessed with a thick, well-built frame, Floyd does an excellent job using his quickness and strength to slip/shrug cornerbacks off the line vs. press and gets into his routes quickly...Didn't seem quite as dynamic as a receiver when he bulked up in 2010. However, has looked sudden, explosive and showcased the ability to separate quickly and create after the catch as a senior. Is one of the draft's top receiving prospects.
Big, physical, productive receiver with strong hands to be effective short, size and post-up skills to be effective intermediate and tracking skills, body control and competitiveness to haul in deep throws. Maturity will go a long way in determining future success.
Floyd has been a game changer at the collegiate level and possesses the size, aggressiveness and game experience to make a difference early in his transition to the NFL. Floyd has been an extremely productive threat both deep and in possession for the Irish throughout his career, as well as a physical blocker and a reliable third-down playmaker. His on-field maturity, physical nature and ability to make the big catch will outshine some off-field mishaps.
Floyd can line up outside, but he was just as impressive in 2011 playing the slot. With his size, he’s hard to jam at the line and he’s difficult to take down after the catch. Floyd would work really well in a West Coast system that relies more on timing than pure speed and athleticism.
Combine Media Session (9:39)
In my biased opinion, Floyd in the best Receiver in this class. The combination of his size, speed, and hands are unmatched by anyone, including Justin Blackmon. He's going to be grilled incessantly about the multiple drinking incidents, as he should be, but all indications show that he's changed his lifestyle. It's almost guaranteed that the Colts will have to trade up to get him now after the Combine, but don't rule out that possibility if he falls into the 20s. Re-signing Wayne really makes this remote, but I'm not ruling anything out as of yet. Rookie QBs need that stud WR to throw to. I really want it to be Michael Floyd.
For a complete list of prospects and profiles, check out our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.