Google searches of his name throughout Chicago and the rest of the country followed the selection. I myself was included in this pool of uncertainty, being slightly unfamiliar with the prospect coming out of the NCAA. However, to our surprise, we found game tapes, highlight reels, and draft profiles that proved that Floyd is a legit player. Most criticize his lean build, but his combination of speed and strength is beyond rare. Floyd turned out a top 5 performance in the 40-yard dash this past April. Floyd’s 4.6-second dash was outstanding, even more so, out of the top 5 fastest linebackers, Floyd had the highest vertical jump (39.5 inches) and the 3rd longest broad jump (127 inches). His obvious athleticism is very attractive to GMs across the league. Interestingly, that was not the only thing GMs liked about Floyd and his game. In meeting Leonard, his manners often steal first impressions; responding with “yes sir, no sir”…
The native of small town Georgia is as polite and warm a professional athlete as they come, but he says he’s different on game day. In fact, he’s just what defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wanted in the 9th overall pick.
As reported by CBS, “Once I get into the stadium,” said Floyd, “my alter ego just comes out.”
Fangio’s defenses are intended to be violent by nature. He builds tenacious units that can dominate a game. Leonard Floyd and his dominant physique fit the bill for Vic’s intense, merciless, and punishing brand of football. In the 3-4 scheme, linebackers are depended upon to rush the edge while being capable in the passing game. Due to Floyd’s speed and explosiveness, he will have no issue powering through or running around offensive lines. In addition, his unique athleticism enables him to keep up with the best pass catchers out of the backfield as well as tight ends coming off the line.
“The opportunity to make plays,” Floyd said. “I mean, I love making plays. Once I know I’ve got an opportunity to do that, it just gets my blood pumped.”
As I said before, the Bears’ pick of Floyd raised eyebrows. For starters, he was added to a position on the roster that already had depth: Pernell McPhee, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston, and Sam Acho just to name a few. Bottom line was that there were greater needs on the board. Most believe that a team must pick the most needed position on their roster with their first round selection, a belief I disagree with. I know what everyone must have been thinking when we selected Floyd, “A linebacker? Seriously? We don’t need one of those? What about a defensive back or defensive tackle? Why on earth would we do that?”
The answer is far simpler than you’d expect. Instead of waiting to see what unfolds on draft night, the Bears targeted Leonard Floyd believing he was going to be the best player they could realistically get their hands on, and they did.
More so, concerns came with selecting a less muscular prospect lacking elite NFL prototypical size. Especially when this prospect did not produce eye-popping numbers during his collegiate career. Here we are, talking about him as a top 10 pick. The Bears fell in love with his tremendous athleticism, and cherish their selection. They do not regret it, at all. They are hopeful that they can coach Leonard into a superstar talent, because for him, the hardest part is over. Floyd possesses skills, talents, and instincts you can’t teach to someone.
He is often compared to Aldon Smith, a previous star linebacker for Vic Fangio in San Francisco. Fangio felt that comparison unfitting and unfair to Floyd, saying, “Leonard is his own talent.” I find myself circling back to his potential frequently. Floyd’s ceiling is incredibly high. Unfortunately, the bust potential is also imminent in the wake of his young career. Leonard needs to show the world that he can utilize his athletic superiority. If he can do that, he will be special. As a Bears fan, I am thrilled to see him compete, and happy to call him a member of my Bears squad. Don’t let his manners deceive you; he is on a mean streak. Maybe it’ll appear on the field.