It's not a stretch to think Notre Dame's Michael Floyd could be the best wide receiver in the 2012 draft class, but he hasn't gotten as much hype as Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, who is expected to be the first wideout taken.
Floyd's stock is all over the place, but there's one consensus opinion of late — that stock is rising. Yet, if receiver-needy teams eye the crop of second-round talent and opt to address another area in the middle of the first round, it's possible Floyd slips a bit and causes the Patriots to weigh the idea of trading up. Even if that's unlikely, Floyd is too good to ignore for this pre-draft series.
Floyd is the focus of the 10th installment of a 26-day series that will highlight draft prospects who could land with the Patriots at the end of April. Maybe the prospect fits perfectly in the range of their 27th and 31st picks. Maybe he's intriguing enough for them to make a rare move up the board. Or maybe it's a player who could be available in the mid-30s, causing the Patriots to, gasp, trade down.
The 6-foot-3, 224-pounder caught 100 passes for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior season. Over the last two years, Floyd had 179 catches for 2,172 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Floyd has star potential as a wide receiver, and the Patriots need to get younger at the position, even if they've got enough depth to thrive in 2012. The Patriots could easily have five receivers on the wrong side of 30 years old on the roster in 2012. Floyd still has some raw mechanics, but his big-play ability would give the Patriots a dynamic threat on the outside of the offense. Consider the mechanics as his room for growth because, really, players don't catch 100 passes at a big-time college program by accident.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
Floyd was cited for drunken driving last year, which led to a suspension, but that probably wouldn't be enough to keep anyone away from his immense talent. If the Patriots stayed away, it will be because of his price tag. Floyd's stock is soaring to the point where it wouldn't even be a huge surprise if he was drafted in the top 10. He's a more realistic possibility in the mid-teens, and that could cost the Patriots at least a first- and second-round pick and quite possibly more.
Potential Impact in 2012
It's impossible to know because proven veterans haven't even been able to grasp the New England offense in recent seasons. If all goes well for Floyd, he'd be in the mix with Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch and others for the most reps on the outside. And if that's the case, Floyd could be a candidate for 30-40 receptions.
Likelihood Floyd Is Available at No. 27
At this point in the process, there's really no chance. About a month ago, it looked possible that Floyd could fall into the 20s, but he has gained a ton of traction since then and could be gone in the first half of the opening round. The Patriots would need to make a big play for him.
Each day in April, NESN.com will spotlight a player the Patriots could take with one of their first-round picks.
Wednesday: Nebraska outside linebacker Lavonte David
Photo via Flickr/neontommy