Bears scouting tour: Notre Dame

The Bears showed up to Notre Dame's pro day yesterday in full force. Lovie Smith, Phil Emery, Darryl Drake and Gill Byrd were on hand to view nine former-Irish NFL draft prospects.

Notre Dame held its pro day yesterday. Nine players worked out in front of a mass of NFL scouts and coaches, including four representatives from the Chicago Bears. GM Phil Emery, head coach Lovie Smith, receivers coach Darryl Drake and assistant defensive backs coach Gill Byrd all made the trip to South Bend.

Lovie chatted up Irish head coach Brian Kelly throughout most of the workout. Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis was the only other head coach to make the event.

Twenty-seven teams were on hand to get an up-close look at a pair of early round prospects in wide receiver Michael Floyd and safety Harrison Smith.

Floyd (6-3, 225) is considered the second-best receiver in this year's draft. He set a school single-season record with 95 receptions and led the Irish with a career-high 1,106 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches in 2011.


WR Michael Floyd
Kyle Terada/US Presswire

He has ideal size and showed great speed at the NFL Scouting Combine, running a 4.47 40-yard dash. He's a great route runner and deep threat, and he excels in the red zone.

Even with the recent acquisition of Brandon Marshall, it's likely the Bears will run to the podium if Floyd is still on the board when the team picks at 19th overall. Pairing Floyd with Marshall would create a potent passing attack.

Floyd had numerous alcohol related incidents in college, which could scare off a few clubs. Still, it's highly unlikely that 18 teams are going to pass up his unique skill set, especially in a league that becomes pass-happier by the season.

It wouldn't be surprising if a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars took a chance on Floyd with the 7th overall pick.

Harrison Smith (6-2, 213) is considered the second-best safety in the draft, behind only Alabama's Mark Barron. He's athletic, experienced and smart, and has ideal size for the strong safety position. A strong in-the-box player and tackler, Smith excels in zone coverage, which would make him a perfect fit in Chicago's zone-heavy system.

Yet Smith is a borderline first-round selection and most mock drafts have him landing in the early second round, well ahead of Chicago's 50th overall pick. He had lunch with Byrd, so the team is definitely interested, but it looks like the Bears will have to trade up in the second if they want a shot at Smith.

Two other former-Irish players stood out at the event: CB Robert Blanton and LB Darius Fleming. Blanton (6-1, 208) reportedly ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, down significantly from his 4.70 at the combine. Fleming ran a 4.54, down from his 4.77 combine time. He played outside linebacker in college but is projected as an inside linebacker in the pros.

Both players are third-day selections that could be quality special teams additions. The Bears have a visit scheduled with Fleming on April 13.

Also participating in the Notre Dame pro day were OT Taylor Dever, CB Gary Gray, RB Jonas Gray, G Trevor Robinson and K David Ruffer.

Robinson (6-5, 300) posted 31 reps in the bench press. He'll likely go undrafted but his size and strength could earn him a training camp invite.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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