Charles McDonald of Playmaker Mentality returns to the show for a look at the Georgia player I thought was a confounding choice as a top-15 pick, but McDonald makes a compelling case to rethink that position.
I studied Leonard Floyd in September. After two games, I turned he tape off and decided I didn’t want to see any more. The idea of Floyd as an edge player bordered on the absurd.
Sure, Floyd can cover backs, tight ends, and some college slot receivers, but he has the physical dimensions of a string bean. As quick as he is, he lacks the strength to maintain his track when bending the edge against college tackles. His greatest success as a pass rusher came as the defensive equivalent of a gadget player looping inside and squeezing through guards.
Gadget players don’t have a great track record of success in the NFL. As good as they are in the college game, it doesn’t take long for fans to wonder if their team drafted one of these guys.
Fortunately, Charles McDonald talked me down from imagining Floyd every time I saw this this dude from Yo Gabba Gabba. McDonald and I watched Floyd and the Georgia Bulldogs against Vanderbilt this weekend and the writer from Playmaker Mentality explained why at least one team is looking at Floyd as an inside linebacker. He then showed why Floyd has some skills for the position that are difficult to teach.
I can’t say the film session made me a convert, but I’m no longer as much of a skeptic. Floyd’s skill at reading the run, an aggressive and physical mentality, quick hips, and a feel for coverage that makes him a far more game-ready fit as a nickel linebacker. Considering how fast the nickel has become the base defense in the NFL and the makeup of this draft class, it becomes more understandable why Floyd earns consideration as a first-round pick.
I’m not convinced I’d make that call. I’m also no longer convinced Floyd is a big mistake for a team that does. And that’s a good start.
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