The Chicago Bears came into the draft looking to bring in an impact player on the defensive side of the football and that is exactly what they were able to get. Chicago traded up to the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft in order to select Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Leonard Floyd. It was a massive move for the Bears and it could be one of the best picks of the entire draft.
Floyd is a major pass rushing threat and will also add energy, playmaking ability, and leadership.
Last season with the Bulldogs, Floyd ended up recording 72 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three defended passes and a fumble recovery. He was not utilized the way that he should have been in 2015. His sack numbers may not look like he is capable of being a legitimate threat at the NFL level, but stats don’t always tell the full story.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network went so far as to compare Floyd to Aldon Smith and talked about Vic Fangio being around in the draft process for both players.
“Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was in San Francisco when it drafted Aldon Smith. Floyd is very similar. He is one of the most polarizing conversations in the entire draft. He has a ‘wow’ get-off and he bends like Gumby. I don’t know if he can convert speed to power in that pass rush. He has the best burst and get-off in this entire draft. He’s a sub-package, designated pass rusher on Day 1, just like Aldon Smith was in San Francisco.”
What does Floyd add for the Bears that it was worth trading up to the No. 9 pick and what should fans expect from him?
Quite simply, there were no other outside linebackers with the ability to make plays in every aspect of the game. He can get to the quarterback, drop back into coverage, and is a sure tackler. Chicago already added two talented linebackers in free agency in Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, but Floyd will fit in alongside of them perfectly.
Chicago’s defense has been weak, to say the least, over the last few seasons. That can’t afford to happen in a division where Aaron Rodgers shreds secondaries. Floyd will be asked to put pressure on Rodgers and the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFC North and he will take that challenge to heart.
John Fox has to feel very good about his teams chances to get back to being a competitive football team in 2016. Floyd is going to be thrown into action immediately and he is more than ready for that challenge. If the Bears’ defense can step up and make the necessary improvements, they could compete for a spot in the NFC playoff picture.
Floyd has to be very happy that he landed in Chicago on a team that needs his exact skills. His value rose quickly over the past couple of weeks, but being drafted as high as No. 9 is a bit surprising. Chicago has a lot of faith that Floyd will become a big part of their defense in the coming years.
Aldon Smith was a defensive superstar during his prime with the 49ers. If Floyd is able to live up to that hype, the Bears are going to look like the smartest team in the draft. Fangio is one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL, and Floyd is in great hands with their coaching staff.
What do you think of the Chicago Bears’ decision to trade up to the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to select Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd? Do you think he will end up becoming a similar player to Aldon Smith? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Brett Davis]