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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Where ND players stand day before draft

By Matt Fortuna

One last Wednesday, one last roundup of our experts' forecasts for this weekend's NFL draft.

One thing I think we can all agree on after some earlier offseason debate: Michael Floyd will be chosen Thursday.

Floyd, who will be in New York for the draft, is ranked as the No. 15 prospect on Todd McShay's 32-man draft board Insider, 14 spots ahead of safety Harrison Smith, who's at No. 29. Mel Kiper has Floyd 12th on his 25-man Big Board Insider.

Kiper has both players going in the first round in his latest mock Insider, with Floyd Buffalo-bound at No. 10 and Smith headed to New England at No. 31.
There are plenty of draft boards that will have Floyd as the best overall WR in this class. The Bills could go a few different ways here, but they really need another threat in the passing game, and Floyd gives them size and smarts. He'll grasp the route tree early, and can both stretch the field and work underneath.

The Patriots will address the pass rush with one of the first two picks, but I think they'll also look for help in the secondary if they like the value. Smith is a very good player. He takes great routes to the ball, and he doesn't shy away when he's closer to the line and has to take on runners. Corner could be a target here, but Smith also makes your coverage better.


McShay, meanwhile, teams up with Scouts Inc. partners Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl to mock the entire seven-round draft Insider. In addition to Floyd and Smith, the group has Darius Fleming going in the fifth round (No. 143, Panthers), Robert Blanton going in the sixth round (No. 185, Cardinals) and Jonas Gray going in the seventh round (No. 249, Falcons).