It’s draft day! In just a few short hours the Los Angeles Rams will go on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick. We have a pretty good idea who that pick will be, but recent days have been replete with rumors and speculation about players moving up or down draft boards.
One youngster who appears to be positively zooming in the former direction is Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd. In fact, buzz is growing that the 6’6″, 244-pound Floyd, who racked up 74 tackles, 10.5 TFL, and 4.5 sacks for the Bulldogs in 2015, may not make it out of the top 10.
As the Telegraph’s Jason Butt wrote, Floyd’s combination of versatility and athleticism has some NFL scouts going gaga. “Floyd’s upside is his athletic prowess and ability to rush the quarterback,” Butt said. “In three seasons at Georgia, Floyd totaled 182 tackles and 17 sacks. While Floyd recorded 4 1/2 sacks in 2015, the fewest during his college career, he routinely got after the quarterback playing multiple positions. Not only was Floyd an outside linebacker, he played inside linebacker and nickel cornerback over the course of his three seasons.”
Chris Clemons of SEC Country agrees. “I’m a regular listener of the “ESPN First Draft” podcast,” Clemons wrote, “starring noted draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. At various times during the last two weeks, McShay has identified Floyd as the “fastest riser” among prospects currently outside the top 10.”
“McShay even doubled down on a glowing nugget, revealing that certain high-drafting NFL teams — both running 4-3 and 3-4 base defenses — have pledged serious interest in Floyd, based on his unlimited speed-rush potential.”
Floyd, for his part, certainly didn’t shy away from the notion of being a Day 1 pick while speaking with Butt. “Why wouldn’t I be worthy?” Floyd said. “I played for Georgia, I made plays for Georgia. Why wouldn’t I be?”
However, all is not rising draft stock and happy feelings. There are criticisms of Floyd, mostly in regards to his lack of bulk and power. Per Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, “Floyd is painfully thin and will struggle to matchup with the strength of NFL players, but he is rangy in space, plays with a good motor and has traits as a pass rusher that would be a mistake to ignore. Floyds ability to cover close to five yards in three strides is rare for edge rushers. Add to that his inside counter and ability to play in space and you have a prospect who will be heavily scrutinized. Floyd’s lack of functionality could limit him to sub-packages unless he proves he can add more beef to his frame.”