2016 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd

As you should know by now, our attention has now shifted to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in.

Today, another outside linebacker from Georgia as we will take a long look at Leonard Floyd.

#84 Leonard Floyd/OLB Georgia 6’4″ 231

The Good:

– Has length and long arms
– Athletic and fluid
– Finds ball quickly
– Great get-off speed
– Nice bend with good ankle flexibility
– Played on and off line quite a bit
– Used a good deal in coverage from slot
– Consistent motor and good communicator

The Bad:

– Looks uncomfortable playing inside off line
– Needs improved upper and lower body strength
– Relies a lot on his agility as a pass rusher instead of power
– Tackling needs improving
– Better over air player who needs team who will move him around

Other:

– 38 games played with 32 starts
– 184 total tackles and 17 sacks in college career
– Underclassman who is already 23 years old
– 2015 Phil Steele’s Second Team All-SEC
– 2015 All-SEC Coaches’ Second Team
– 2015 Butkus Award finalist

Tape Breakdown:

Floyd’s athleticism is something that sticks out quite a bit on film and that’s not too surprising when you consider his shooting guard-type build. Here, against Florida, Floyd easily slips inside the right tackle with a great fake to the outside followed by a jump back inside. This results in the quarterback being flushed out of the pocket to his side.

As far as Floyd’s ability to rush off of the edge, he mostly relies on his quick get-off and ability to turn the corner in lieu of using his long arms or a power rush and you can see an example of that below. In other words, I consider him more of a finesse pass rusher than I do a physical one. He is also great twisting inside via stunts to provide pressure as well due to him being a great athlete.

Georgia used Floyd in a lot of different ways in 2015 and that included him seeing snaps in the slot as well as off the line as a second level linebacker. Below is an example of Floyd reading and reacting against a run to his left as he cautiously wades through trash on his way to making a shoulder tackle. Overall, Floyd didn’t seem comfortable playing inside as he really was hesitant even though he seemed to diagnose well.

While he certainly won’t be considered a shut-down pass defender, Floyd can run in space with tight ends and running backs. However, due to his slow route recognition, Floyd has to rely totally on his speed and athleticism in order to compensate. Watch how he gets himself flat-footed but makes up for it with his long stride to just barely lose the race. As far as zone drops to the flat go, Floyd is a natural at that due to his ability to flip his hips.

As far as Floyd’s play against the run goes, I found it to be acceptable when playing on the line as opposed to off of it. Even though he gives up a lot of weight at times, Floyd certainly doesn’t shy away from contact or his duties as an edge run defender. Here, he takes on the inside Florida tight end and pushes him back after leading with his inside shoulder. After he crosses the face of the blocker to the outside, the ball-carrier has to look for a lane back inside. There are instances on tape of Floyd being bullied some by large tackles and aggressive guards, but as a whole, I thought he stood tall against them and very rarely will you see him off his feet or blown completely out of a play.

When it comes to his tackling ability, Floyd doesn’t always bring his feet with him and this missed tackle below against Florida resulted in a huge play. According to STATS, Floyd had a total of 11 missed or broken tackles in 2015, but even so, he was always around the football and thus finished second on the team with 74 total tackles.

Summary: At the upcoming scouting combine, Floyd figures to put up great numbers not only in the timed drills, but those that measure explosion such as the vertical leap and the standing broad jump because of him being so athletic. Because of that, along with his lanky build, I expect several will compare him to Vic Beasley and Randy Gregory, two of last year’s top edge rushing prospects. Floyd, however, plays the run much better than those two did during their college careers, in my opinion, and that will be appealing to teams who run 4-3 and 3-4 base defenses.

Floyd also has a great deal of experience lining up at various positions on the field and that includes him being down on the edge in addition to standing up. Additionally, there’s a lot of tape of him lining up in the slot and running with tight ends and while he needs improvement in that area, he can certainly keep pace vertically as well as horizontally.

The main question when it comes to Floyd as a pass rusher is whether or not he can be effective with a power rush against strong and athletic tackles as he won’t be able to rely solely on his quick first step inside and ability to turn the corner on the edge. As previously mentioned, he should excel on inside stunts in any front due to his ability to move quickly. Ideally, Floyd would play a LEO position at the next level, at least initially. He will need to add core strength to his upper and lower body and hopefully add a little bit of weight along the way to help not only as a pass rusher but in setting the edge against the run.

Floyd figures to be more of a pressure provider than a sack producer at the NFL level, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He belongs either on the line at the edge or lined up in the slot as using him inside and off the line will waste his many talents.

Floyd will probably be perceived as a late first round prospect and because of that he could hear his name called during the first night of the draft. At worst, he should come off the board early in the second round. Floyd’s build and physicality figure to be the subject of many pre-draft conversations that teams have about him. I consider Floyd to be a jack of all trades as an edge player but master of none of them. Even so, he still hasn’t hit his ceiling as a player.

Projection: Late 1st-Early 2nd

Games Watched: vs Alabama (rain), at Florida, vs Penn State (bowl game)

Previous Player Profiles
Hunter HenryEli AppleLaquon TreadwellDadi NicolasKendall Fuller
Deion JonesJihad WardKevin PetersonVonn BellMichael Caputo
Andrew BillingsMackensie AlexanderTyler ErvinAustin BlytheChris Jones
Sheldon RankinsNoah SpenceJordan JenkinsYannick NgakoueDarian Thompson
Bryce WilliamsCre’von LeblancHenry Krieger-Coble

  • Randy

    Just suck it up and sign a decent oLB off FA. I am tired of drafting OLB thinking they gonna be a steal. Right now we have unproven Jones, Dupree, and others. James has done his duty for Steelers and have to find a proven decent NFL OLB to play for steelers.

  • James Cowan

    There aren’t any decent OLBs in Free Agency. Unless Von Miller hits but he’ll be making as much as Ben if he does.

  • Tom Jackson

    Well who knows what happens to him before the draft. Beasley was seen very similarly last season, although people liked his pass rushing moves better and his run defense worse then you do right now Dave.

    What do people say of him if he adds 20 or 30 pounds as well in the time between the seasons end and the combine and still has amazing athletic numbers. Suddenly that late day 1 projection goes up to a top 15 possibly.

  • falconsaftey43

    Floyd was really hard for me to get a feel for because they moved him around so much. I agree that I don’t really like him inside. On the edge, I just didn’t see enough reps to get a good feel for what I think of him as a pass rusher. Obviously very athletic.

  • SteelersDepot

    the thing, I’m not sure he can gain much weight and he certainly won’t do that before the combine, one would think

  • Tom Jackson

    I’m not sure either but literally the same things were said about Vic Beasley last season… and then the combine happend. I’m just saying it’s something to watch out for.

  • SteelersDepot

    if shows up at around two donuts short of 243 and times and jumps well, that obviously will help him. he needs to add core strength regardless

  • Tom Jackson

    I think he fully played at OLB in 2014 though. He was rumored to even come out last year after a great start to the season. He supposedly cooled off though in the 2nd half of 14.

  • Jones

    Didn’t we already draft an OLB from UGA that wasn’t strong enough? He might develop just in time to hit the market. Would rather not keep repeating that process…

  • SteelersDepot

    You are going to see that most of the edge rushers in this class need to get stronger. Need to put the UGA bias away as well.

  • Michael James

    I don’t buy in the hype of him being a future pass rushing star. While watching his tape I was underwhelmed. He needs to get a lot stronger (which I doubt he can), he has no nasty streak, his run defense isn’t good and the production just wasn’t there. I wish him all the best, but I have to say I wouldn’t like the pick at 25.

  • falconsaftey43

    He played split out to the slot a lot in 2014. Really hard to find a good stretch of a game where he was consistently on the line.

  • PittsburghSports

    Nice. I’m glad to hear he doesn’t shy from contact at least. I was kinda putting him to the side, because I thought most would use him off the ball, but sounds like Georgia was just misusing him last year. OLB prospects for our spot in the 1st rd seem lacking a bit, so I think you have to see Floyd as a realistic option for us.

  • WreckIess

    He’s 6’4 and he’s 23. He’s not even close to maxing out his frame and he still has years of natural growing ahead of him. What makes you think he can’t get stronger?

  • WreckIess

    So the answer to the problem at OLB is to not try to get a good OLB? Excellent logic.

  • Michael James

    I think it’s not about bulking up only, it’s the way he plays and his functional strength. His speed to power conversion isn’t good and that’s very hard to change.
    Of course this is only my opinion, after watching several games, but overall I just wasn’t impressed.

  • Luc Polglaze

    My biggest knock against Floyd is he can’t finish. Beasley had athleticism for days but he also had the power to get there. Floyd bounces off guys trying to tackle them. I just have issues with him finishing in college, which will be a slow transition to the NFL too.

  • 58Steel

    Wouldn’t like him at 25; but say we get one of the Alabama DL, or Billings in the 1st, I wouldn’t mind Floyd in the 2nd.

  • Jones

    No UGA bias. I’m from and still live in Atlanta – kind of a UGA fan, actually. Doesn’t mean I can’t note similarities between players and their backgrounds, and it doesn’t mean I have to look at everything that comes out of Athens with rose-colored glasses, either.

  • harding36

    Exactly. I want the best defensive player available in the first round, regardless of position. IMO, that is likely to be a defensive lineman. Billings, Reed, Robinson; maybe even Rankins or Dodd (though I haven’t looked closely at those 2 yet).

    For what’s it’s worth, I don’t see it, but lots of the “TV scouts” are really high on Floyd. I think Daniel Jeremiah even has him in his top 15.

  • WreckIess

    I mean needing to gain strength and being a former bulldog aren’t very strong similarities. As a matter of fact, I would probably say that’s where the similarities between he and Jarvis end.

  • thehugster

    Didn’t show his best most effective rushing move where he sets up the tackle outside and cuts back inside using pure speed. Very intriguing if the Steelers would consider a smaller more athletic outside LB like in the old Dom Caper days, ie Greg Lloyd and Jerrol Williams.

  • LucasY59

    I think I like Jenkins better (when using the obvious comparison of the two UGA OLBs, which is strange since until I read this profile I liked Floyd better, I thought he was bigger almost 250#???) Its not that I dont like him at all, but I dont really like him as a 1st rd pick (and he wont be available when the Steelers pick in the 2nd) I think with how much he would need to develop he should be a 2nd rd pick, but the NFL is desperate for pass rushers (and there arent many in this Draft so I think he will be gone no later than the top 10 picks of the 2nd rd)

  • LucasY59

    Lloyd – Floyd they do look to have similar body types, but I dont see the attitude (or physicality) that made Lloyd great in Floyd, so the comparisons end pretty quick

  • Jones

    I don’t recall my drawing any other comparisons. Do you? That was really my only point – I don’t want another Jarvis Jones – those couple similarities brought to mind Jarvis Jones, and I don’t want to see another OLB have a similar performance over their first few years in Pittsburgh – whether they’re from GA or anywhere else. We need someone that can contribute sooner.

  • WreckIess

    You didn’t draw any other comparisons because there are none. Which is what I said.

  • Jones

    So you felt the need to comment on what I DIDN’T say (other similarities)? Okay… And what’s wrong with wanting to see the FO be careful about drafting another OLB that needs to get stronger to play the position at the NFL level? We’ve seen that scenario work out poorly in the recent past, and every Steeler fan should want things to work a bit better than they did with JJ (or at least to work out sooner). I didn’t think I was breaking any molds with that train of thought, but whatever…

  • WreckIess

    I’m saying that calling Leonard Floyd “another Jarvis Jones” because he needs to gain strength and he’s from UGA is dumb because they aren’t even close to the same player.

    I’m saying those are the only similarities between the two players so drafting Floyd would not be drafting “another Jarvis Jones”.

    How were those statements that hard for you to understand?

  • Jones

    Can you please direct me to my post in which I stated that “Floyd is another Jarvis Jones”? I don’t recall ever typing it – you must be reading into it what you want to. I’m simply saying that I want the FO to be cautious about POTENTIALLY having an outcome similar to JJ (whether that’s with Floyd or anyone else). If Floyd can be a sack machine for us – great – I hope we get him. I just want the FO to be careful about it and make sure they pick someone up who can get stronger quickly and not take years to develop into an average OLB.

  • WreckIess

    In your post from 13 hours ago you said “I don’t want another Jarvis Jones” and “that those couple similarities brought to mind Jarvis Jones…”. Not just that, but your 1st post was that we “already drafted an OLB from UGA that wasn’t strong enough…” And now you’ve changed that to “I just don’t want another Jarvis Jones situation. Which I’m sure most people don’t, but either you don’t understand JJ’s issues or you’re over simplifying them if you think UGA + lack strength could equal “Another Jarvis Jones”.

  • Jones

    Not really. Lack of strength + UGA + OLB prospect does remind me of the JJ situation, but I’m not saying Floyd HAS to be exactly like JJ just because of those similarities. Again, just stating that I want the FO to be careful to avoid another JJ. Sorry if you got the impression that I meant, “ZOMG UGA + WEAK = FLOYD IS A CLONE OF JJ DEVELOPED IN LAB FOR GROWING WEAK OLBS FROM GA!!!!1!!1!”. I think you’re trying a bit too hard to read between the lines when I didn’t mean to imply anything overly negative about Floyd.

  • popsiclesticks

    I watched a lot of this dude’s games on the Youtubes and I really like him if he falls to 25. The clips above don’t show much technique but he seems to have a decent amount of it plus great athleticism.