By Danny Cox
Name: Leonard Floyd
Weight: 244 lbs.
Position: Outside Linebacker
Draft Pick: 9th overall
There is very little doubt that the Chicago Bears have a talented team, but they needed help on defense in the worst way last season. With that in mind, the Bears went out and drafted outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with the ninth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draf,t and they really hope he ends up contributing early on.
In high school, Floyd wasn’t just on the football team; he also participated in track and field, and that helped build up his power with the shot put. During his time at Dodge County High School in Georgia, Floyd split his time between defensive end and tight end, but he was eventually seen as a true star on defense.
As a freshman at the University of Georgia, Floyd started in eight of 13 games for the Bulldogs where he finished with 55 tackles and a team-high 6.5 sacks. He had similar numbers in the 11 games of his sophomore season with 55 tackles, six sacks, and a fumble recovery.
In Floyd’s junior season, his numbers fluctuated a little bit as he played in 13 games and finished with 72 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three passes defended, and one fumble recovery. His numbers were consistent enough for him to get good ratings from scouts, which led to him skipping his senior season at Georgia and entering the draft.
His gamble paid off – many teams were eyeing him before the Bears selected him with the ninth overall selection. Chicago actually had the 11th pick, but traded it and a fourth-round selection to Tampa Bay so they could move up and take Floyd.
Leonard Floyd does not have an easy path to the starting position at outside linebacker, but he has the talent, speed and athleticism to get there. The Chicago Bears are really hoping that their betting on him with a high draft pick will pay off quickly and for the long run. All that Floyd needs is the chance to show his true skill and it’s quite possible that training camp could elevate him to the leader of the defense by the time the regular season begins.
The linebacker position is quite deep for the Chicago Bears as Floyd joins a corps that includes Sam Acho, Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston, and Willie Young. It won’t be easy, but the young rookie does have the skill needed to become an NFL starter in his very first season.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.