Falcons 2016 Draft: Should the Falcons draft Leonard Floyd?
It’s no secret the Atlanta Falcons need to find a pass rusher.
Despite selecting Vic Beasley with the eighth overall pick in last spring’s draft, the Falcons finished the season with three fewer sacks than they put up in 2014 with just 19, a league-low. Beasley produced four of those while playing with a torn labrum for much of the season. Finding the Clemson product a dance partner to rush off the edge is a key to the offseason.
And maybe that player is from down the road in Georgia. Enter Leonard Floyd.
What stands out for Floyd is his size and length. He needs to bulk up which we will come onto shortly, but in terms of height, he towers above players at 6-foot-6. Floyd is an excellent athlete and has good length. There’s a lot to like with his potential as a pass rusher, which is an area the Falcons so desperately need to see improvements in.
Floyd has an explosive first step and a number of pass rush moves. He also has good speed, which is something Dan Quinn loves to have on defense.
One of the biggest concerns is with his frame. Floyd is tall but thin and will need to prove he can play well after bulking up. Can he play defensive end in a 4-3 or will be fit in at linebacker? These are questions each coaching staff needs to weigh up, and it could cause him to drop in the draft.
Due to his frame, NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter has listed Floyd as one of his boom-or-bust prospects:
"“There’s certainly nothing wrong with Floyd’s “want-to,” and his ability to blow through gaps and around the corner when in pass-rush mode are impressive. As an early entrant, he has time to add onto his frame in a pro strength and conditioning program. He deserves to be an early-round pick, but how early will depend on teams’ willingness to project another 20 pounds onto his frame over the course of the next couple of years.”"
There’s certainly a lot to like and Floyd has a lot of potential. There’s no doubting his first-round talent, and the Falcons may feel he fits well in Quinn’s scheme.
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Atlanta needs to improve its pass rush somehow in the draft. Derrick Shelby — signed by the Falcons from the Dolphins in free agency — will help strengthen the defensive line and he offers some pass-rushing ability, but the defense needs a pure rusher off the edge. Maybe that guy is Floyd.
What are your thoughts?