2012 NFL Draft: Michael Floyd Could Be Weapon That Takes Flacco, Ravens to Top

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2012 NFL Draft: Michael Floyd Could Be Weapon That Takes Flacco, Ravens to Top
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Put on Michael Floyd's combine tape. Now slowly pick up your jaw from the floor. That's how good the former Notre Dame star was this weekend in Indianapolis at the NFL combine. 

Floyd's physical stature was something we all knew about before his performance in Lucas Oil Stadium. At 6'3" and 220 pounds, Floyd is a big, solid wide receiver with good hands, but there were questions coming into the combine about his speed. Think his 4.47 40-yard time answered his critics?

People may still say that Floyd doesn't play that fast, and that might be a bit misleading. But as the Baltimore Ravens evaluate their position with the 29th pick, they should be crossing their fingers that Floyd falls to them.

With the electric Torrey Smith, last year's second-round selection, they don't need Floyd to be the burner on the outside. Smith ignited the Ravens' offense by giving Quarterback Joe Flacco the all-important vertical threat that opens up the middle of the field. Floyd's leaping ability and red zone skills could be the final piece that takes Flacco and the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

Earlier this week, ESPN NFL Analyst John Clayton said that with one key addition on offense, Flacco could be a Pro Bowl candidate next year.

"The combination of one more threat—it could be [wide receiver] Lee Evans—but also that young guy they draft or whatever they sign in free agency, they just need one more threat on the outside."

If the Ravens opt to not go after a valuable receiver in free agency or retain Evans, Floyd becomes an attractive option with the 29th pick. Still, the argument could be made that the Ravens' most immediate need is on the offensive line. With uncertainty surrounding the status of guard Ben Grubbs and center Matt Birk, drafting someone like Cordy Glenn or Peter Konz could be a better choice at the end of the first round in April.

 

Floyd also draws a red flag with the dreaded "character issues" label. While this sort of rhetoric is certainly valid in some cases (see Janoris Jenkins, Cliff Harris, etc.), the Ravens have a bit of a history of taking players with "baggage" after deciding that they have grown from their mistakes. Floyd has had three alcohol-related violations in the last four years, the most serious being his well-documented DUI citation. 

Floyd will have to account for these mistakes. He paid for them in part last season when Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly suspended the star wideout. He may have to suffer the consequences at the next level if he drops in the draft. Yet, if the Ravens pick Floyd in the first round, it is safe to say that the organization believes he has legitimately learned and grown from his experiences.

Ozzie Newsome and his staff will likely be weighing these types of questions until they have to phone in their selection on draft night. But for a lot of Ravens fans, Baltimore and Joe Flacco were one Lee Evans drop away from the Big One. Maybe Floyd will take them there next time.

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