Notre Dame Football: Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a Santa Claus, Ind., native, said Monday he grew up a Notre Dame fan and is rooting for the Fighting Irish to win the national championship.

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Irish Lunch Links

March, 14, 2012
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Dwight Howard's still talking?
Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith remain the second-best prospects in the NFL draft among receivers and safeties Insider, respectively, according to Mel Kiper Jr. But both have been steadily climbing up the draft boards ever since their impressive combine performances nearly two weeks ago.

Each player moved up three spots this week on Kiper's Big Board Insider, with Floyd coming in at No. 12 and Smith at No. 18. Only Floyd makes the cut in Kiper's and Todd McShay's third mock drafts, released Wednesday.

Kiper has the receiver going No. 13 Insider, to the Arizona Cardinals.
Offensive line would be the more obvious pick here, but I want to see what the Cardinals do in free agency first. Floyd would be a great complement to Larry Fitzgerald in that offense, and give the Cardinals an enviable pair of guys that can work underneath, go deep and also post up smaller defensive backs in the red zone. Outside of the offensive line, Floyd is as much as you could do to help a quarterback.

McShay, like many, thinks Floyd is Chicago-bound at No. 19 Insider.
Chicago needs a big target who can make plays downfield and take advantage of the strong arm of QB Jay Cutler, and while Floyd isn't the most sudden athlete he shows on tape the ability to be an impact player in the vertical passing game. Running a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the combine helped solidify him as a top-25 prospect.

Irish lunch links

March, 1, 2012
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Again: Poor Northwestern.

More praise for Floyd, Smith

March, 1, 2012
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Strong performances at the NFL combine in Indianapolis may have been enough for Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith to solidify themselves as the second-best players at their respective positions.

Both Floyd and Smith come in at No. 2 among receivers and safeties, respectively, in Mel Kiper's top-five rankings by position this week Insider. Floyd jumped Baylor's Kendall Wright for the No. 2 spot this week behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.

Alabama's Mark Barron remains the top safety.

In his weekly chat Wednesday, Kiper suggested the Chicago Bears could take Floyd with the 19th overall pick in next month's draft, adding that the former Notre Dame receiver improved his stock this past week.

Kiper also thinks Smith is a first-rounder, and he can't see the former Irish captain falling outside the first 40 picks.

With Barron not working out at the combine because of double-hernia surgery — which isn't expected to be a long-term concern — Smith took advantage of the spotlight, Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench said Insider:
Smith didn't have an elite workout, but he delivered exactly what you would expect from the best safety in attendance. He checked in at 6-1^ and an absolutely shredded 213 pounds and has long arms (32). He's fluid for his size, flips his hips quickly, and gets in and out of his pedal naturally. Smith attacked the ball nicely, and the 4.57 he ran in the 40 is very good for a safety his size. He's a top-50 player, for sure, and there's an outside chance he could come off the board late in the first round.

Irish Lunch Links

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
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Buzz Williams. That is all.

Floyd could help nearby teams

February, 17, 2012
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Football Outsiders took a look Friday at the needs of NFC North teams in the upcoming draft Insider. As many have said all along, the Chicago Bears could be looking for a wide receiver, and they may not need to look far.
As for the receiver class, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd is likely to be in play with the 19th pick. Floyd is a bit tight in his routes and lacks ideal suddenness so this might be a bit rich for him, but his downfield ball skills are second-to-none. He's a physical receiver who tracks the ball well and uses his 6-3, 229-pound frame to his advantage in jump ball situations, and Floyd would give strong-armed Bears QB Jay Cutler the quality vertical target he needs.

Earlier this week, Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl examined the Indianapolis Colts' other needs besides a potential new quarterback Insider. He thinks Floyd could help the Colts should they somehow be in position to pick the former Irish wideout.
Colts WRs Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are headed for free agency, so Indianapolis might also opt to add a weapon for Luck in the passing game. To that end, Baylor's Kendall Wright would provide a dynamic presence on the outside as the kind of receiver who can make things happen after the catch. Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd would also be a consideration should he fall on draft weekend, and he or South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery could provide a big target and ability to stretch the field and make plays in one-on-one situations.

Where Michael Floyd measures up

January, 18, 2012
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Michael Floyd held steady on both Mel Kiper Jr.'s Insider and Todd McShay's Insider draft boards this week, at No. 20 and No. 18, respectively. But a couple of new lists from Kiper may better evaluate where Floyd stacks up heading into the draft, and where he may ultimately end up.

Floyd
Floyd
Kiper released his top five by every position today Insider, and Floyd comes in at No. 2 among wide receivers, behind only Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. Also among the top five in his position group is former Notre Dame captain Harrison Smith, who comes in as the fourth-best safety, behind Mark Barron (Alabama), Antonio Allen (South Carolina) and Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State).

And, perhaps most importantly, Kiper has Floyd being taken 19th overall by the Chicago Bears in his first mock draft, writing:
If the Bears learned anything when Jay Cutler went down this season, it was that the offense wasn't very pretty without him. But Cutler also needs help. Last year, Chicago had to start up front because the offensive line was such a weakness. But as the Bears anticipate getting some healthy bodies back up front to start 2012, they now must find some help for Cutler at wide receiver. The current group has some speed, but he could use a big target, and Floyd can be that guy. He has a big frame, but Floyd actually dropped some weight for the 2011 season, and he managed to look quicker and more explosive in and out of his breaks without giving up much as a physical receiver. He'd be a nice option in this offense and a threat in the red zone.

It's important to note that the mock draft is different from the Big Board in that it factors in the drafting teams' needs and doesn't necessarily rank players in order of skill or potential.

Irish Lunch Links

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
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Kobe's still got it.

Big Board update

December, 23, 2011
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Matt Barkley's decision to return to USC for his senior year did more than just make the Trojans a national title contender for 2012. It forced Mel Kiper to re-adjust his Big Board mid-week.

Michael Floyd is among the beneficiaries, moving up one spot to No. 23.

Here's Kiper's take Insider:
Multidimensional receiver is able to beat you short or deep using a big frame to beat smaller cornerbacks. Played at 227 pounds in 2010 but dropped a little weight this season and does appear a little quicker.

In his initial first-round projection earlier this week, Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay had Floyd going 19th, to the Chicago Bears. Insider

Irish Lunch Links

December, 22, 2011
12/22/11
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Don't ever change, Derrick Rose.

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WeAreSC's Blair Angulo caught up with ESPN 300 WR Equanimeous St. Brown on Sunday at the IMG 7v7 West Regional to get the latest on his recruitment.Tags: USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, WeAreSC, Equanimeous St. Brown
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