Inside Notre Dame's Fighting Irish by Jason O'Mahony
Four Notre Dame players taken in NFL draft.
Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM
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Wide receiver Michael Floyd was selected in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals with the 13th overall pick.
Safety Harrison Smith, who also went in the first round, was picked 29th overall by the Minnesota Vikings.
Outside linebacker Darius Fleming and cornerback Robert Blanton also secured places in the camps within the professional ranks of the NFL, as they were selected by the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnestoa Vikings in the 5th round.
Floyd is Notre Dame's highest drafted player since defensive tackle Bryant Young was the seventh-overall selection by San Francisco in the 1994 and is the first Notre Dame wide receiver to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since Tim Brown in 1988.
"I could not be happier for Michael and his family," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "I've said many times I have never coached a person as talented as Michael, and his selection tonight shows that. Michael's work ethic and passion for football are unparalleled and fans of the Cardinals will love the productivity he'll bring to Arizona's offense."
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Floyd is the Notre Dame career record holder for receptions (271), receiving yards (2,686), receiving touchdowns (37), average yards receiving per game (85.7) and games with at least 100 receiving yards (17).
Floyd is expected to compete for a starting spot in Arizona immediately and will be the perfect compliment to the Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Harrison Smith has an uncanny awareness for zone coverage and is expected to compete right off the bat within the Minnesota secondary. Smith is the earliest Fighting Irish defensive back selected since Jeff Burris was taken with the 27th pick in the 1994 draft by Buffalo.
"Harrison Smith is one of the best leaders I've ever had on any of my teams," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "He is an intelligent and instinctual player on the field and a true student of the game off the field. He'll be a great fit for Minnesota's defense and I can't wait to watch his long and successful pro career."
There was also good news for other Notre Dame players post-draft. Undrafted running back Jonas Gray announced on his Twitter account that he had signed a rookie free-agent contract with the Miami Dolphins.
Gray underwent reconstructive knee surgery in November, after a stellar breakout 2011 season for the Irish.
Offensive tackle Taylor Dever followed Jones with his announcement he had agreed to terms with the Dallas Cowboys. Defensive End Ethan Johnson also agreed to a deal with Kansas City.
Offensive guard Trevor Robinson, kicker David Ruffer and Gary Gray are among the other undrafted ND players also hoping to catch on as rookie free agents.
About the Author:
Jason O'Mahony is Ireland's biggest fan of Notre Dame Football and blogger for domersportsreport.com