Expect Bears coaches and scouts to be one hand when Notre Dame holds its Pro Day on Thursday in South Bend.
Michael Floyd is the player that would be the best fit for the Bears if he can prove he can pull his life together. The rangy, athletic receiver has yet to decide whether to declare himself eligible for the supplemental draft after he was suspended indefinitely from the team last month after being cited for drunken driving. Authorities said Floyd’s blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit.
It was the third alcohol-related incident since 2009 for Floyd, who announced in January that he would return for his senior season. Despite playing only two full seasons at Notre Dame, Floyd owns the school record for touchdown catches (28), is second in catches (171) and third in receiving yards (2,539).
The University has yet to announce whether Floyd will be allowed to play next season. If not, he may decide to enter the NFL via the supplemental draft (if there is one given the uncertainty around the NFL labor situation) or whether he should sit out next season and make himself available for the 2012 draft.
While Floyd will not be working out for scouts, there will be other players the Bears may want to consider, including defensive tackle Ian Williams and fullback Robert Hughes.
Williams is not considered one of the premier defensive tackle prospects in the draft, but at 6-foot-1 1/2, 305 pounds, he may be worth a look as a possible two-down run stuffer who could be picked up in the later rounds.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offense requires a H-back or fullback, which may make Hughes, the former Hubbard star, an attractive option. At 5-foot-11, 250 pounds, Hughes is more of an oversized tailback than a classic fullback but has the power to help solve the Bears’ short-yardage woes.
Coaches are often referring to smaller, quicker athletes like Notre Dame’s Armando Allen when they talk about change-of-pace backs. Hughes would be a change of pace, all right, the kind that leaves cleat marks on opponent’s chests.
At 6-4, 225 pounds, receiver Duval Kamara deserves a look as a potential rookie free agent. Kamara has the size and ability to snatch the ball out of the air that could give him a chance to compete for a roster spot during training camp.
Given the Bears’ needs up front, guard Chris Stewart may be another player deserving of a invitation to training camp. The 6-5, 351-pounder has the size and strength to compete in the NFL, although he hasn’t always been able to translate those qualities onto the field.
Linebackers/defensive ends Kerry Neal and Brian Smith, tight end Kyle Rudolph and cornerback Darrin Walls will also work out for scouts.