Patriots

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. 

Bills WR gives Patriots bulletin-board material after Tom Brady departure

Bills WR gives Patriots bulletin-board material after Tom Brady departure

Is the AFC East officially wide open now that Tom Brady is no longer a member of the New England Patriots? At least one Buffalo Bills player thinks so.

Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie was ecstatic to hear the news of Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That comes as no surprise, as the ex-Pats QB is an absurd 32-3 against Buffalo in his 20-year career and New England has won 11 straight division titles with Brady under center.

During an interview with WROC in Buffalo last week, McKenzie expressed his excitement about Brady leaving while giving the Patriots some bulletin-board material.

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“The Brady situation, I cheered,” McKenzie said. “He’s a great player. Our team is stacked. The last two years we’ve been giving him a run for his money, but now that he’s gone, it’s going to kind of be the Bills’ time to take over.”

McKenzie's confidence isn't unfounded. The Bills made a big splash earlier this offseason by trading for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, giving Josh Allen another dangerous weapon opposite John Brown. With Brady and several other key contributors leaving in free agency, the Patriots may have their work cut out for them next season.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane sang a much different tune than McKenzie on Thursday, saying it's "funny and comical how people are writing off the Patriots in the AFC East." Still, it's safe to bet McKenzie's words will be remembered in Foxboro when the 2020 campaign kicks off.

Scott Pioli: Why Bill Belichick, Cam Newton are 'like oil and water'

Scott Pioli: Why Bill Belichick, Cam Newton are 'like oil and water'

At various points this offseason, the New England Patriots have been connected to some of the free-agent quarterbacks on the open market. And after they lost Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, speculation increased that they could add a veteran to compete with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in the quarterback room.

One guy that has been mentioned quite a bit is Cam Newton. The 2015 MVP was released by the Carolina Panthers this offseason but has yet to sign with a team.

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Newton has been tied to the Patriots mostly by betting odds, which does make some sense. After all, Stidham is inexperienced and Hoyer has been an average-at-best starter during his time in the NFL. Newton has a history of high-level play when healthy, so perhaps he'd be worth the gamble for the right team.

But will the Patriots actually pursue him? One of the team's former personnel executives doesn't think so.

In a recent interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio, Scott Pioli, who worked in the Patriots front office from 2000-2008, spoke about Newton's connection to the Patriots. And ultimately, he doesn't think that Bill Belichick and Newton would be able to coexist.

"With Cam Newton, the Patriots thing is interesting because I've heard a lot of people talk about that. In my mind, having spent as much time with Bill as I did, I don't see those two coexisting together," Pioli said. "The personalities and beliefs of how the game should be played and is played, it seems like oil and water."

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Pioli joked that the Patriots will probably go right out and sign Newton after hearing these comments. But he ultimately just thinks Belichick and Newton wouldn't mesh well.

"I just see them as being very different personalities and having very different approaches to the game," Pioli said. "Bill believes in football more than entertainment. Cam believes that football and entertainment are almost equal partners. And in this day and age, it is, but Bill has the soul of a football man. I couldn't see that one working out too well. And if I did, it would probably have to be for one season."

Pioli makes some good points and perhaps that is why the team hasn't shown a lot of interest in Newton so far. Given that the team seems to believe in Stidham, it probably wouldn't make sense for them to bring in Newton to compete for the job if they're worried about how he might fit with the team.

Patriots fans should have a better idea of what the quarterback room will look like once the 2020 NFL Draft comes and goes. The Patriots may take another young player at the position to compete with Stidham and Hoyer. If they do, that would likely fully eliminate the possibility of them adding another veteran quarterback, if that option isn't already off the table.