The Chicago Bears were fully aware of how much Leonard Floyd weighed when they drafted him ninth overall in this year's draft.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio says he's fine with Floyd's size and expects him to play at the same weight he did last season.
"The weight thing’s not a big thing with me," Fangio said today following rookie minicamp practice. "He’s going to weigh somewhere between 230 and 235. That’s just what he’s going to weigh. We knew that before we drafted him. So it’s not an issue. We knew that and that’s a fact and that’s what he is.”
Floyd weighed 235 his junior year for Georgia but bulked up to 248 by his pro day. After he was drafted, Floyd said he weighed 240 and that the team wants him to gain weight. Obviously that's not a problem for Fangio, who is more enamored with the speed and versatility Floyd brings to his defense.
“He’s very athletic. He’s long. He can run. He’s got good instincts. They used him all over the place, so I think he has good football instincts, which we’ll see if that translates here," said Fangio. "So there were a lot of things to like from his athletic ability, movement, he’s got some pass rush talent, he can play in coverage, he’s got talent for that. So his versatility along with his athleticism and length.
"We wanted speed. Our team speed up front last year was below average. To add somebody with some speed as part of his toolbox is something we were intrigued by."
The Bears brought in Floyd to rush the passer, yet Fangio is still deciphering how best to deploy his new weapon.
"I think you just put him in there, teach him like you taught everybody for the first few weeks, and then you make your adjustments the more you learn about the player. What his strengths and weaknesses are, what he can and can’t learn. You start getting a vision of how he’ll fit in for this season’s team along with a long-term vision. It’ll be an ongoing process."
Many have questioned Floyd's ability to fight off blocks, due in part to his slight frame. It's an area in which the coaching staff will be developing their new edge rusher.
"Well, he’s got length, so that can help him ward off people from getting into his body," Fangio said. "He’s gonna have to be quick and sudden with his take-on. He’s not going to be able to wrestle people as much. But so much of whether you win or lose on a block happens early in the down, it doesn’t happen late in the down. We’re just going to have to make sure he’s technique sound and being quick and explosive and decisive with his take-on."
At the end of the day, Fangio is confident he can turn Floyd into an effective all-around player.
"I think he’ll be able to do that and do that and do it well enough. I’m sure there’s going to be a play or two every game where you’re going to say, ‘Jeez, he’s not heavy enough’ or ‘He’s too light.’ Hopefully there’ll be a few plays every game, too, that we say, ‘Well, jeez, we didn’t have anybody who could have done that in the past.’ He is what he is."