Scouting: Leonard Floyd – OLB, Georgia
Year: Junior (RS)
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/231 lbs.
Expected draft position: Late first, early second round
Here’s the first thing that came to mind when I started watching the film of Georgia 3-4 outside linebacker and edge rusher, Leonard Floyd.
For an edge rusher, he plays off the ball. A lot. Why?
It’s true. He often lines up in the area where middle linebackers roam. He lines up as a nickel defender in coverage on the slot receiver. He does at times line up at the traditional 3-4 OLB spot. But not as often as a true edge rusher would.
Floyd is a year behind as he went to military academy for one year after high school before attending Georgia. So he’ll be 24 years old on week 1 for which ever team drafts him. Probably means his body is filled out, and he’ll be pretty lanky. He was a Butkus Award Finalist, second team All-SEC. Over three seasons in Athens. Floyd tallied 17 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss. He shows the ability to play multiple positions, and that versatility was on display against the toughest test any team is likely to face in college football, Alabama.
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Leonard Floyd is often tasked with coverage as a nickel back. In this particular clip, Alabama QB, Jake Coker, completes the pass over the head of Floyd, but you have to credit the disguise Alabama used rather than discredit Floyd for the coverage. After watching a few times, I noticed three things Alabama did flawlessly. First, the way the receivers are set up. One behind the other. Floyd doesn’t know which one is his man until the snap. Next, after the snap, it’s a play action. This freezes Floyd for just a moment and makes him peek into the backfield. That quick peak was conveniently just as the receiver makes his break and gains a step on Floyd. However, once Floyd processes it all, pretty quickly I might add, he keeps up step for step with his man. Third, a worse throw could have been picked off. But Coker did the perfect job of putting the ball up high, over and in front of the 6’4” Floyd.
Here is an instance where we see Floyd in the natural 3-4 edge spot. Here is another example of why Alabama is so good and why the Heisman Trophy winner was Derrick Henry. Henry gets the carry. Floyd is hesitant off the snap as he reads the direction of the play. The right guard pulls around to the left toward Floyd’s side. The tight end on the right pulls as well and follows the guard. All signs point to Henry running through this giant lane in the B gap to his left. But the defensive tackle and the middle linebacker on Georgia close that gap very quickly. Now Henry has to bounce the run to the outside of the tackle. Floyd, had his eyes in that B gap where the pulling guard and tight end went as well, thinking that’s where Henry would pop out, and Floyd would be there to pounce. When Henry bounces outside, Floyd is late getting to him, and Henry beat him to the corner and turns it up field. Is Floyd at fault here? For the purposes of scouting, Henry is as close to NFL talent as it gets as a Heisman winner. At-least it suggests he’s the best RB in college football, no? You need to make this stop when Henry has to change direction. Floyd was way to late picking up Henry bouncing it outside. His eyes are still inside the tackle when Henry is almost outside of him.
Later, I reviewed Floyd against Vanderbilt, not quite the powerhouse of Alabama. On this clip I saw him lining up as a middle linebacker. But that lankiness of his frame is no match for shedding blocks when a lineman gets their hands on him. On other plays he uses speed to get to the sidelines, moves laterally well. But here in this instance, seeking out the ball carrier, he just gets completely taken out of the play by stronger guys. The opposing center tosses Floyd like a rag doll once he gets out in front. Floyd needs a nasty streak in him. He needs to approach the runner with authority. Not wait for the runner to get to him, because then this happens.
It was also in this tape that we finally come across some tape of Floyd rushing the passer with success. A little of that nastiness is evident here. He can barely contain himself, twitching before the snap. He doesn’t have bull rush ability, so it’s nice to see him use a swim move to beat lineman with 100 pounds on him. Floyd keeps his feet moving after executing the swim move, playing with high energy, almost to the point where he nearly misses making the play. He gets a hand on the quarterback as he takes a step up in the pocket, but Floyd does just enough to bring him down
Once again, Floyd shows off his coverage ability, keeping up with the receiver stride for stride, turning and running while in man coverage. I don’t expect him to do all the little things right in pass defense, like getting his head around and looking for the ball. It’s not like he’s a cornerback. But it’s simply a showcase of his speed which could be an asset in other facets. Like when pursuing a ball carrier as a linebacker.
Disciplined (military school)
Plays tall (other reports talk about his great bend. I don’t see it)
Needs to add strength to shed blocks
Manhandled by O-lineman if he doesn’t get around them
At 24 years old, he’s about filled out.
Summary: Versatility is the name of Floyd’s game. But that doesn’t really translate to great ability. He can rush the passer, and can seek out the ball carrier, he can drop into coverage, but he’s not really great at any one of those things. Coverage is great for a guy his size. He doesn’t bend as well to get around the edge at 6’4”. He doesn’t bull rush offensive lineman at all at a smallish 231 pounds. Floyd is built like a tight end. Or dare I say, a big, big strong safety. Think Kam Chancellor of the Seahawks big, who is 6’3”, 232 pounds. He’s got a knack for playing in coverage. Why not have him play some strong safety, drop him down in the box often to freelance rush from a standing position, or in run defense.
He lacks that real nasty streak if he’s going to play more as a middle linebacker. If he’s a great edge rusher, why didn’t Georgia line him up there more? I just can’t get past that. Floyd seems like an athlete that would thrive in Rex Ryan’s amoeba style defense where a lot of guys are standing up. The rush can come from anywhere, and Floyd can catch someone off-guard with his speed.
I think there are very few teams where Floyd’s unique size and versatility play on. A “tweener” seems appropriate. The Ravens, I don’t see as one of them. I hope they pass if Floyd is there in round two.
Film courtesy of Draft Breakdown.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]