One of the names linked to the New York Giants during the lead up to the NFL Draft was Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd. But it was the Chicago Bears who traded up to take Floyd one pick ahead of the Giants who were at No. 10 and ended up selecting Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.
Floyd hasn’t racked up huge numbers, he has just 15 tackles in his rookie season. But what he does have is five sacks, including 4.5 sacks over the last three games. Considering that the Giants as a team have 14 sacks, second from the bottom in the league, that type of production (theoretically) could certainly helped the Giants pass rush.
Bears head coach John Fox was asked about Floyd on a conference call with the New York media and he sounded off as being very happy in making the trade to take Floyd.
“I kind of thought this might come up, but you have no idea really what is going to happen in the draft, you really don’t. There is a lot of information out there. Sometimes it can be misinformation,” Fox said.
“Sometimes it can be factual information. I just know that was a need that we had and we like the player a lot and you try to maneuver in the draft to get the players that you want and he was a player that we wanted.”
Truthfully, Floyd may not have been a good fit with the Giants. In the 3-4, Floyd is ideal as an outside linebacker, not unlike Calvin Pace’s role with the New York Jets for the past several seasons. But he isn’t a good fit physically as a defensive end in the 4-3 as he’s underside and he is weak in coverage to play outside linebacker in the Giants scheme. So a role as a 4-3 linebacker or end likely wouldn’t have been successful with Big Blue.
But in Chicago he’s free to get after the quarterback in the 3-4 and he’s creating quite a bit of havoc. The Bears are eighth in the league with 24 sacks and Floyd has one responsibility: Get the quarterback.
“I see great potential and I think he is doing quite well. I think earlier in the season he had some nagging injuries, he had a calf strain, a hamstring strain that kind of slowed him down a bit,” Fox said. “But here as of late, I think over the last month he has had a very productive run there in that stretch of time and he continues to get better, so I see a bright, bright future in Leonard Floyd.”