Notre Dame Football: Markelle Martin

Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith Insider are among those listed in Mel Kiper's rankings of the five-best players at each position in this year's draft.

Floyd stayed at No. 2 among wide receivers, behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.

Among safeties, Smith came in at No. 4 for the second week in a row, behind Mark Barron (Alabama), Antonio Allen (South Carolina) and Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State).
Among this group, Barron is the only one I have right now with a relatively safe first-round grade. Antonio Allen is a guy I was a little late on, but going through the tape on him I've come away extremely impressed. He's a riser for me in recent weeks.

Kiper Insider also ranks the top five players at each position who are returning for their senior years of school, and Manti Te'o comes in as the No. 1 inside linebacker.
Manti Te'o's return to South Bend didn't totally surprise me, but I'm not sure he'll be any higher on draft boards by staying a year than he would have been this year. That's more about the position than the player.

Surprisingly, Tyler Eifert is not on Kiper's list of top five tight ends returning.

Where Michael Floyd measures up

January, 18, 2012
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.

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.


Official Visit: Imminent ESPN 300 Decisions
Recruiting reporters Erik McKinney, Damon Sayles, Derek Tyson and Tom VanHaaren join ESPN's Phil Murphy to discuss some upcoming decisions for ESPN 300 recruits and a pair of five-star prospects who recently postponed their commitment date.


Saturday, 9/20