He’s passed up Golden Tate, Jeff Samardzjia and Tim Brown to claim all the major receiving records in Notre Dame history. And now Michael Floyd is a member of the Arizona Cardinals.
Floyd becomes the first WR taken by the Cardinals in the first round since the team selected Larry Fitzgerald with the third overall pick in 2004. He is the first Notre Dame player drafted by the Cardinals in the first round since the team selected QB George Izo with the second overall pick in 1960.
Taken 13th overall, Floyd becomes the highest draft pick out of Notre Dame since 1994, when the San Francisco 49ers drafted DT Bryant Young with the seventh overall selection.
Floyd becomes the first Notre Dame WR taken in the first round since Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown was selected sixth overall by the Raiders in 1988. He is the fifth WR out of Notre Dame to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, joining Brown, Jim Seymour (10th overall by the Rams in 1969), Jack Snow (8th overall by the Vikings in 1965) and Monty Stickles (11th overall by the 49ers in 1960).
With three alcohol related legal offenses during his time in college (DUI in South Bend, two underage consumption tickets in MN) you know character concerns will be front and center. He was kicked off the team only to be reinstated later. And of course, no story about Michael Floyd is complete without mentioning that the true key to his realization of that enormous potential is staying healthy. His junior and senior year he did that, unlike his first two years with the Irish.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on the process of drafting Floyd:
“As Michael Bidwill says, we vetted him out. We really put a lot of work into this besides just spending time with Michael and finding out his background. That involves our scouts spending a lot of time talking to people at the school and his background. I think one of the things that struck me about him was his honesty. We asked him some pretty tough questions about his past and he was very honest. I think that we emphasized the importance to him about some of our players and how important they are to the community and what type of role models they are and how important it was for us that he would have to fit that mold.”
Floyd ran a sub 4.5 forty at the combine and that made his character concerns less of a risk. His former coach Brian Kelly vouched for him:
“I think it was just the realization that he had to change his life if he wanted to be in that position to make choices. To have an opportunity to come back and play at Notre Dame and get a degree and be successful in the NFL, he had to make some choices. He made some great choices, so now you have a young man who has been through some adversity, has handled it, has been humbled because of it, and the best is in front of him now.”
Floyd will now learn from the best in fellow Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald, and will practice everyday against Patrick Peterson, one of the best young corners.
“It’s exciting just knowing that he’s on the opposite side of me, one of the best receivers in the game. It’s a good learning experience for me to know that when I get down there I’ll be able to learn from one of the best,” Floyd said about Fitzgerald on conference call.
And Fitzgerald wanted him to join him in Phoenix.
“He’s a good mentor. It’s exciting to me that one of the best players in the game wants you on his team.”
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should tooFollow paulmbanks