Looking into Michael Floyd's first-round pedigree

Looking into Michael Floyd's first-round pedigree

Michael Floyd was the 13th overall pick in a 2012 draft class that wasn’t known for having great receivers. He ultimately didn’t prove to be worth that in Arizona over five seasons, but he nevertheless comes to New England with something of a high pedigree. 

So, where did that billing come from? 

The answer is kind of boring, but it’s a combination of physical attributes and numbers. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Floyd had better size than the draft’s top-ranked receiver (Justin Blackmon) and his competition to be the second receiver taken (Kendall Wright). He also held the Notre Dame school record with 37 touchdown receptions over his four seasons, two of those seasons came under Charlie Weis.  

Holding him back were his three arrests for alcohol-related incidents, including a DUI, but his 4.47 second 40-yard dash (faster than the 5-foot-10, 196-pound Wright’s showing) cemented himself as a first-round prospect. 

From NFL.com after the 2012 scouting combine: 

Floyd is a polished receiver who shows the ability to release and burst off the line of scrimmage despite his frame. He is a solid route runner who will consistently make the big catch. He is an excellent athlete who is strong and contributes in the run game with his physicality on the edge. A receiver who is tough across the middle, Floyd will make the tough catch and get up-field. Floyd brings that No. 1 receiver presence to the next level and projects to produce to that standard. Floyd's explosiveness off the line and frame when catching balls make him a presence that is felt by opposing defenses. As a blocker, Floyd will do more than just mirror defenders, as he will come down the line of scrimmage and crack linebackers. He is a red zone threat at any level and his projectability to the next level is a major key to his high draft value.

[Looking back at that draft and it's a whopper of a reminder to not get too caught up in however the wind happens to be blowing at the combine. After the aformentioned three receivers and then A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick and Stephen Hill were taken, it was the draft's seventh receiver, Alshon Jeffrey, who proved to be the stud of the class. As you may recall, his stock plummeted because he'd put on weight.]

Floyd’s selection by the Cardinals set him up to be their No. 2 until he would, in theory, he surpass Larry Fitzgerald, a succession plan the Texans managed to execute a year later by taking DeAndre Hopkins to team with and eventually replace Andre Johnson. 

Yet, Floyd never quite took off as a No. 1 in the making. Though he led the team in receiving yards in 2013 and 2014, he was third on the team in receiving yards in three of his five seasons in Arizona, including the past two. To be fair, this season has seen him out-targeted by running back David Johnson, so he was working as the team’s No. 2 receiver, even if not by much over John Brown. 

Coming to New England, maybe he’ll make an impact the way Deion Branch did immediately in 2010 or the way Jabar Gaffney eventually did in 2006. He’s got a lot riding on this stretch with New England, as he’ll be a free agent at season’s end and teams might not be enamored with a receiver who failed to reach his potential in two spots, even if he was a first-round pick. 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

browns-collins-jamie-collins-012017x.jpg

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.