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Irish athletes audition at Pro Day

Apr 3, 2012, 4:35 PM EDT

Seniors ND Pro Day

With NFL scouts descending on South Bend, nine Irish seniors had what might be their final chance to make a good impression on potential employers. While their fellow classmates might be feeling the same jitters as they head to Career Fairs and don suits and ties, Robert Blanton, Taylor Dever, Darius Fleming, Michael Floyd, Gary Gray, Jonas Gray, Trevor Robinson, David Ruffer, and Harrison Smith donned shorts and spandex as they took to the field to inside Loftus to show their athletic prowess.

The headliner of the show was Floyd. While he didn’t re-run the 40-yard dash or bench press again, Floyd went through an extensive route-running session, reportedly catching everything thrown his way by former battery-mate Jimmy Clausen. With head coaches Lovie Smith and Marvin Lewis in attendance, not to mention representatives from approximately 25 teams, Floyd seemingly cemented his place in the first round, and according to NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, the No. 1 receiver spot in the draft.

BlueandGold.com, which also shot the video below, got this quote from Mayock touting Floyd as a better option than Oklahoma State star Justin Blackmon.

“In my book he is (the best receiver in the Draft),” Mayock said. “If you take the off-the-field stuff away from Michael Floyd and just watch the tape, I think he compares very, very favorably to Justin Blackmon. In my opinion, I think Jacksonville at [No.] 7 starts his interest. I don’t think he gets past 16 with the Jets. I think there are some teams like Chicago hanging down there at 19 that would love to have Michael Floyd.”

Mayock also raved about Smith, and was impressed by just about every Irish athlete working out. Both Blanton and Fleming significantly upgraded their 40 time, both clocking mid-4.5s while tested, a significant bump from the 4.7s they registered in Indianapolis.

Trevor Robinson, who long battled the knock that he wasn’t physically ready to dominate at the college level, put up 31 reps of the 225-pound bench press, a number much higher than many people expected. Gary Gray, still battling a groin injury, ran and participated in drills, but wasn’t completely healthy. More impressively, Jonas Gray, in the midst of rehabbing an ACL tear that happened on Senior Day, also participated, not formally testing, but looking on track in his recovery slated to be complete by mid-May.

While draft pundits are quickly reshuffling their grades and mock projections, Floyd was keeping things in perspective after auditioning today in South Bend.

“I just want to be picked,” Floyd said, who will be in New York for the draft. “This is a goal of mine, a dream since I was in third grade to play in the NFL. It’s a blessing to be in this position for what I’ve been through… I’m just glad I stayed and get to graduate in May. My family is proud of me, my teammates are proud of me, and I’m proud of y teammates, too.”

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  1. dickasman - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    So Blanton AND Fleming both ran mid 4.5? Boy, this doesn’t bode well for Blanton. Who wants a CB that runs like a LB? Backpeddaling or not….

    • bernhtp - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      It sounds like they’re looking at Blanton for safety and special teams. He doesn’t have NFL corner speed.

  2. bernhtp - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Floyd will be great in the NFL. He clearly did the right thing by coming back to ND for his senior year. The extra focus on his issues may have saved his life. He is richer in so many ways for the experience. We may ultimately upgrade his title from just Mr.

  3. herringbonesports - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    There are a number of teams that could go from middle of the pack to Super Bowl contender with the addition of one Michael Floyd.
    I keep thinking that the post-Super Bowl the Patriots would be smart to get Brady an elite WR weapon that they lacked recently for his final few years of top-notch play. If I was Belicheck I’d be giving up a 1st and two 2nd’s if Floyd slips past 14 to grab him. Very doubtful, but you never know.

  4. totallydisgusted - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    I’m happy for Floyd. I hope he stays on the right path and flourishes in the pros

  5. turknd - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I hope all the hard work these guys put in pays off for them, especially Jonas!

  6. thedecade1 - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Wish all of the guys the best of luck and excited about the 2012 season. Side note is it me or is the lighting in the Loftus and training facilities really bad. The ND day pic at the top looks straight out of Paranormal Activity.

  7. schuey73 - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I was looking forward to hearing how these guys did. I wish them all the very best.

    On another high note, it looks like ND just got a commitment from CB Devin Butler. Outstanding!

  8. nudeman - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I hope ND gets Aaron Lynch the help and support he obviously needs. This kid has been complaining about ND almost since Day 1 and appears to be volatile, and probably unstable.

    Needs to step back and understand the world is his oyster right now.

  9. 1hoss - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Floyd is going to look sweet in a Bears jersey.

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