Regarding the outside linebacker position, with their first-round pick the Bears traded up to select OLB Leonard Floyd. Fangio advocated to draft Floyd, because “to add somebody with some speed as part of his toolbox is something we were intrigued by.”
Floyd demonstrated both pass-rush and coverage talent in college. Fangio noted that Floyd is “very athletic, he’s long, he can run, he’s got good instincts. They used him all over the place so I think he’s got good football intelligence.” He added “there’s a lot of things to like, from his athletic ability, movement, got some pass rush talent, he can play in coverage, he’s got talent for that.”
Critics of Floyd question if he’ll have the strength to play at the NFL level. But after observing Floyd in OTAs, fellow OLB Lamaar Houston noted that Floyd “has great hands and leverage. He uses his leverage really well, especially for somebody who is over 6’5”. He can bend really well. He can get into guys’ chests and he keeps them at bay and his lunge is so long and very he’s quick and athletic.”
We’ll obviously need to see how he plays in pads and in actual games, but he’ll definitely add a speed element to the Bears defense.
The Bears also drafted DL Jonathan Bullard to add speed to the defensive line. Ryan Pace noted that what jumped out to him was “when you watch the tape on him, there is one thing you can’t coach and that’s get off. His get off is excellent,” meaning “he’s really quick and sudden off the [snap of the] ball.”
His get off enabled him to shoot gaps and create havoc in the offense’s backfield.
Bullard himself recognized his strengths were his “get off and play recognition.” He stated “I think I do a good job at reading offensive linemen and knowing what they are saying and learning what they saying. And that gives me an upper hand to shoot gaps and expect blocks. Bullard noted.
Next: Year Two