Notre Dame held its 2012 Pro Day today. Nine Irish players participated in drills for representatives of 27 of 32 NFL teams. Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith, the strongest Irish pro prospects, only ran shuttle drills while players like Robert Blanton and Darius Fleming performed in the full battery of drills, tests, pokes and prods in an effort to boost their draft stock. Blanton and Fleming did just that, but Floyd and Smith were the day's big winners.
Eric Hansen had a very comprehensive write-up in the South Bend Tribune. Hansen, despite having had four years to get the goods out of Michael Floyd, got his biggest scoop at the 11th hour: Floyd wanted to go pro all along... in wrestling. The Rock. Goldberg. The Big Show. These are Floyd's professional idols. Cursed Brian Hardin controlling the flow of information. What we could have done with this information over the years.... At least we know that Floyd appreciates the greats. The Rock is my fav too, Floyd. Let's hang, bro. Get at me dog! Just kidding. Unless he wants to hang.
Moving along, Floyd also ran passing drills. Floyd's former teammate Jimmy Clausen did him a solid and played QB during the passing drills. Floyd would have asked Tommy Rees, but rumor has it that Floyd is afraid of Rees's power. Floyd was also concerned that Rees might throw it to Smith, Blanton, Gary Gray, or Darius Fleming, the only defensive players in the building. Floyd's fears were of course irrational, as Rees would never throw it to anyone in an Irish uniform.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com's Pro Day blog believes that Michael Floyd could have nudged himself ahead of Justin Blackmon with his "dazzling" pro-day workout. Not sure I can see that based solely on a pro-day performance, though Justin Blackmon, we now know, is considerably smaller than Floyd and potentially only marginally faster. Of course I'd take Floyd, but in the NFL draft, perception is often reality, and if everyone is saying that Justin Blackmon will be the first receiver taken, he probably will be.
In any event Mike Mayock can't see Michael Floyd going any later than the Jets' sixteenth pick.
Mayock remains bullish on Harrison Smith, tabbing Hayseed a potential first-rounder, probable second rounder, and guaranteed steal. Smith looked fast and fluid in position drills and continues to impress the pro scouts.
Mayock rates Darius Fleming a middle-rounder, Trevor Robinson a late-rounder, and Robert Blanton a "draftable kid" at safety.
Check out Mayock's breakdown for yourself. If you do, watch the Bengals' Marvin Lewis. Have you ever seen such a dour looking fellow? Harrison Smith and Darius Fleming looks like they're chiseled out of granite. Also, there's video of Robert Blanton running the 40 in his underwear. Why? Just why? So having no idea how to follow that, I will just move on.
2011 Campaign Hero Jonas Gray, to my delight, participated in passing drills, but did not run agility drills or the 40. Gray's doctors expect him to be at 100% by June, which Mayock thinks will be enough for Jonas to get into camp. Maybe then Gray can take the Ryan Grant path to NFL domination.
Trevor Robinson did well in position drills and benched a deuce and a quarter a more-than-respectable 31 times. I did that once. I just spread it out over several days. Or weeks.
Gary Gray ran the 40 in 4.75 and 4.70, which just shows how inflated--or deflated--high school 40 times are. Gary Gray was never a burner, but no one ever thought of him as a slow cornerback, and he only has 4.7-ish speed.
What say our readers? What are your combine numbers?