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Everyone knew former Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd was a sure-thing first rounder, but it was Minnesota's selection at pick #29 that turned a good night into a great night for Irish fans. It all started when Arizona chose Floyd with pick #13, making him the highest Notre Dame selection since Bryant Young was drafted seventh in 1994. Floyd will join fellow Twin Cities native Larry Fitzgerald, setting up what could be a very impressive wide receiver tandem for the Cardinals. About an hour and a half later, the Minnesota Vikings continued what is beginning to look like a push to be renamed 'Notre Dame North,' selecting 2011 Irish captain Harrison Smith with pick #29. The safety will team up with center John Sullivan ('07) and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson ('07) in Minneapolis. In the age of Twitter, it was great to see the hundreds of tweets from students, fans and local media congratulating the former Irish stars. But more so, I enjoyed seeing those from current and former Notre Dame players celebrating the great news. Having gotten to know Mike and Harrison a bit during my time at Notre Dame, I was awfully happy to see their NFL dreams come true on night one of this year's draft. I can only imagine how their Irish teammates felt, having become like their brothers over the past four years. From Manti Te'o to Matt Mulvey to Kapron Lewis-Moore, many could hardly put their excitement into words. Let's hope this trend of Irish success continues when the NFL Draft resumes on Friday. For all the facts and figures surrounding tonight's draft picks, check out UND.com for the official Floyd and Smith press releases. Follow @NDHardin (Notre Dame Director of Football Media Relations Brian Hardin) on Twitter for much more on the Irish in the NFL Draft, as seven other hopefuls await their football future this weekend. - Josh Flynt ('11)
"...doesn't want to embarrass anybody yet..."
"I just have one thing to say to Tim - 'You're huge!'"
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"Notre Dame Team Wiped Out With With Hesburgh at the Helm"
Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame.
We're just eight days away from the 2012 NFL Draft, with nine former Notre Dame football players hoping to get the call that will change their lives. One of the those NFL hopefuls is safety Harrison Smith, the 2011 Irish captain. Smith is expected by many to be a second round pick, but some draft pundits also believe he could be a late first rounder.The Green Bay Packers, who have the 28th pick, may be one of the teams interested in the Knoxville, Tenn. native. Their former Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins underwent neck surgery during the 2011 season, and is still waiting to hear from doctors before he decides on his playing future. The Packers finished the regular season with a 15-1 record, but fell to the New York Giants in the divisional playoffs. Smith is one player who may be able to help a secondary that struggled for much of the 2011 campaign. Tyler Dunne has more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
At a sturdy 6 feet 2 inches and 213 pounds, Smith is intelligent, long and fast. He's one player who may be capable of covering today's athletic tight end. Throughout his meetings with teams, that has been the hot topic. "There's a big tight end in every division that dominated last year," Smith said. "Nobody found a great way to stop it without leaving other things open. So that's something people are definitely focused on. "How do you stop these big, athletic guys? I think the best way to stop them is with bigger, athletic safeties that match up better with them. It's hard to put a corner on them. It's hard to put a linebacker on them. A bigger safety who can run with them and make plays on the ball is something teams put a lot of value on."Visit JSonline.com for the full article, and tune in to next weekend's draft to see where Smith and his Irish teammates wind up.