In the video above (courtesy of JMPasq) you’ll find tape of Notre Dame wide out Michael Floyd. He’s a prospect with a lot of physical qualities to be a high pick, but he’s let down by off the field concerns and technical flaws. In fairness he’s started the year with noticeable improvements to the way he’s catching the ball – he’s showing his hands to the quarterback and making grabs away from his body. In the past he was a big-time body catcher, so he’s worked on that with some success if the tape above is any evidence. I get the feeling old habits die hard though, as we see with his last few catches hitting his chest - including the late touchdown.
He’s a big guy with NFL size, but he’s not a terrific speed threat and won’t run a special time at the combine. He’s not a polished route runner and he’s not especially quick into his breaks. A lot of people have maintained high grades on Floyd but because he has issues that need to be ironed out with his technique, because he’s not a unique athlete and because of the off the field problems and the bad decisions he’s made I still have a hard time offering anything more than a mid-round projection. Even so, he has this season to put up the big numbers and boost his stock.
We’ve talked a lot about a positive impression for USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Interestingly, ESPN pundit Todd McShay is less emphatic about his stock. He still gives Barkley a round one grade, but at the back end of the first rather than the top five pick I believe he could be. “I have him in the low twenties, late first, early second round” according to this tweet via Evan Silva. He’s also a big Landry Jones fan, complimenting his accuracy. McShay has been hotter than people think with prospects in recent years – he was the first person to talk about Blaine Gabbert last year (we had him at #13 in a mock draft in December, long before people wondered whether he would even declare). McShay was also consistent on Jimmy Clausen, consistently stating he was a second round pick not a high first like many people imagined.
Whether McShay will be proven right on Barkley/Jones remains to be seen, but his view on both is worth noting.
Matthew Elder at Buffalo Bills Draft wonders whether Robert Griffin could be the second coming of Michael Vick. “We have watched Griffin very closely over the past year and we think that the way he runs and throws not only compares well to what Vick was in college, it exceeds it.”
I think that’s a bold statement, perhaps too bold. Vick was a sensational prospect coming out of college, maybe even a once in a generation type of player. Off field problems have tarnished his reputation permanently and stunted his potential achievements, but there’s no doubting he’s an elite NFL performer on his day. Griffin is a good athlete, but is he a Michael Vick athlete?
Elder points out that Griffin is rising up the boards and is already above Landry Jones in terms of a grade in his view. I still maintain a level of caution – as good as his performance against TCU was it must be repeated consistently to really buy into the potential. As I wrote in this piece after that game against the Horned Frogs, I have a lot of issues with his footwork and how that corelates to his ability to pass the ball at the next level. I don’t think he’ll be able to compensate with sensational playmaking ability as he learns on the run. He’s much more of a project than Vick ever was and an absolute mile away in terms of potential. Griffin is a natural born leader though with a perfect character and attitude - we’ll never see any negative headlines in that sense.
That’s not say he can’t get to that Vick-level of on-field talent, but I think it’s a long shot. I doubt we’ll ever see a player that truly warrants the comparison to Michael Vick. Whatever your feelings are about Vick – and rest assured I share them if they’re largely negative – he is a completely unique entity.
I have several games prepared to record for this weekend. I’m away with work for the next two days but will have a review post on Saturday and thoughts on prospects from Sunday onwards. My schedule for week three includes Boise State at Toledo, Tennessee against Florida, Oklahoma versus Florida State, Stanford at Arizona and Washington against Nebraska.