As the season winds down and the Eagles continue to tug at our heart strings and disappoint us like a high school relationship, more and more mock drafts are getting cranked out by the big wigs. Perusing through these pieces, I often see the Eagles getting mocked Georgia linebacker, Leonard Floyd. Subsequently, I am overcome with a wave of "meh" that has only been matched when I got a cheesesteak from Geno's.
The first thing that stands out in a not so good way is Leonard Floyd's build. He has a nice frame at 6-4, but standing at 225 pounds, soaking wet, Floyd looks more like a wide receiver than he does a linebacker. His lack of sand shows up more often than not, as he gets manhandled by bigger, stronger offensive linemen when attacking the run or the passing game. When Floyd was playing as an edge defender, he was using his speed and flexibility around edge to disrupt an offense. While impressive at the college level, Floyd's speed was more a product of how light he is rather than natural athletic ability, and there is a great chance he would lose his trademark skill set if he were to gain substantial weight at the professional level. On top of all this, Floyd is 24 years old and has likely maxed himself out physically, so there is doubt that he can fill out his body any more.
The thing is, the Georgia staff realized this glaring flaw in Floyd's game and decided to play him primarily off the ball instead of making him a pure edge defender. That is what makes the so many writers mocking Floyd to Philly so head scratching; he is not even playing the position some are projecting him to play. When playing off the ball, Floyd looks a much different, and much better football player. He plays with fantastic awareness and does a very good job locating and attacking plays. Due to his movement skills, he looks comfortable working in coverage and his smarts make him an asset there. Even though Floyd is not strong or has any overwhelming athleticism, he still plays with a very high motor and does not shy away from contact. This makes him an asset on blitzes and occasionally dropping him down to rush the passer. He truly is a jack of all trades at the college level.
It is always important to differentiate a great college player from a good NFL prospect. Also, to often do writers and NFL teams get enamored with a player like Floyd's "versatility". The truth is, versatility is not ability. Just because Floyd has a lot of different responsibilities at the college level does not mean he is great at any of them. Of course, I am mainly referring to his ability to rush the passer, as Floyd is a solid player in other regards. He just is not an every down, NFL edge defender. The illusion of versatility is what got Marcus Smith and Dion Jordan drafted so highly; The did a lot of things in a college defense and people thought they could make an impact at the NFL level in the same way... However, neither could attack the edges very well and thus, never saw the field. I feel like Floyd will suffer the same fate if he ends up going to a team that asks him to play in such a way.
NFL Comparison: As stated earlier, Floyd is very reminiscent of Dion Jordan coming out of Oregon. Pass rushing was neither of their best traits and a lot of their success in college was a product of being used in a very versatile way and relative athleticism, as opposed to actual NFL level athletic ability. Dion Jordan's career was derailed by substance issues, so it is hard to say how a player like Floyd will pan out when there is little precedent for the type of player he is.
In short, he is not a fit in Philadelphia. His best bet would be to go to a team like Minnesota that would use play him at weak side linebacker and occasionally drop him down on the line or use him on blitzes. He is a "gadget pass rusher" and not a player that a team should count on as either the primary or secondary defender on their front line. I am not sure why so many are interested in mocking a player as an edge rusher when his college team stopped having him play there, but alas.