In the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears made a controversial move by trading up two picks to select former Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd.
Since the pick, many have vocalized loudly their displeasure over selecting a player who still isn't a finished product. They've expressed concerns over his supposed lack of strength, his less-than-ideal weight and the fact he "runs around blocks."
There's no doubt Floyd is a work in progress and that he must put on weight, and retain it, if he's going to have consistent success at the next level.
Yet is he the second coming of Shea McClellin, as many have predicted?
To answer this question, I broke down film from four games Floyd played last season, all against SEC competition. Here's what I found.
-0:53, 3rd and 1, Alabama runs right at him. He's double teamed. He rides both players inside, then quickly stops and tosses them aside, plugging the hole, keeping those blockers off the inside linebackers and making the stop.
-Next snap, he chases down a wide receiver on a fly route on the opposite side of the field, which is pretty ridiculous.
-2:36, run up the middle, RT tries to engage, Floyd extends arms and disengages, helps on the tackle inside.
-2:21, run up the middle, H-back comes out to block him, Floyd fires his fists into blocker's chest, puts him on his heels, finds ball, makes tackle.
-2:31, guard pulls for a kickout, Floyd maintains separation with arm extension, disengages, helps on the tackle.
-2:39, RT steps out to block in pass pro, Floyd makes him look like an amateur with a sick spin move, drills the quarterback.
-4:55, blocker engages, Floyd extends arms and rides him inside, then dumps him after the RB cuts outside, chases RB to sideline.
-5:06, pass rush, sets up RT but working up the field, then leaves him in his wake after a quick counter move inside.
-5:17, speed rush, swim move, goes right around the RT.
-5:50, RT engages, Floyd swats away his hands, uses a rip move to turn the corner and clobbers QB.
-6:14, run play right at him, he maintains separation through arm extension, disengages and makes tackle.
-6:49, pass rush, double teamed, first contact at 24-yard line, he drives both blockers back to the 19-yard line, frees up teammate for a sack.
-7:22, rollout in his direction, RB tries to block him, has no chance, Floyd elicits holding call.
-7:45, option play, Floyd forces the pitch then drops the RB for a 4-yard loss.
-1:43, pass rush, RT engages, Floyd counters inside with swim move, RT bear hugs him, Floyd powers through it and carries the blocker for the sack.
-2:10 (bad play), counter run at him, guard pulls for a kickout block, Floyd runs around the block, which creates a big hole.
-3:23, TE blocks him man up, Floyd extends, separates and sheds, makes the tackle inside.
-5:02, speed rush, dips and turns corner, gains leverage, gets hand on QB.
-5:11, backside tackle pulls for kickout, Floyd holds his ground and just dumps the blocker, makes tackle inside.
-7:17, inside stunt, late blitz from wide OLB spot, G tries to block him, Floyd uses his quickness and a hand swipe to go right around him, forces quick throw.
-7:43, play run right at him, RT engages, Floyd extends arms, shifts inside, then quickly shifts back outside, disengages, RT ends up on his face.
-0:53, edge rush, Floyd squares up RT then deftly steps right past him on an inside move, forces quick throw that's almost picked, crushes QB.
-1:20, edge rush, turns corner with rip move, collapses pocket, flushes QB out of pocket.
-1:32, edge rush, quick counter swim move, steps inside and leaves RT with a handful of air, sacks QB.
-4:22, man coverage on a slot receiver, runs stride for stride in his hip pocket, pass incomplete.
-7:33, speed rush, blows right by RT, nearly gets the sack, forces pass that's intercepted.
-8:44, uses head fake inside, then shifts weight and runs right around the RT.
-He played mostly MLB in this game and made some really nice plays, including a pass he dropped that would have been an interception, but I focused solely on his play from OLB, the position he'll play for the Bears.
In these four games, I found one example of Floyd running around a block, so the idea he's afraid of contact doesn't hold much water.
He does struggle at times to disengage from blockers but more often than not, he uses his long arms to extend and create separation, which allows him to shed with ease.
What I see from Floyd is an explosive edge rusher with a full arsenal of pass rush moves. He's slippery and quick, and uses his thin frame to his advantage. He has the speed and flexibility to easily turn the corner, and the strength to carry blockers into the pocket.
Floyd shows very good awareness against the run and exceptional change-of-direction ability. His athleticism, versatility and speed jump off the tape. Very few outside linebackers can line up against a slot receiver and stay in his hip pocket on a go route.
Floyd needs to get bigger and stronger, there's no doubt about that, but his upside as a potentially dominant edge rusher is off the charts.
If Chicago's top-tier coaching staff can develop Floyd and help him reach his ceiling, he'll emerge as the impact defender every Bears fan desired heading into the draft.null