Position Battle (Back-ups): The Chicago Bears made a rare move and traded up from the #11 pick to the #9 pick in this year’s NFL draft in order to select OLB Leonard Floyd from Georgia. Floyd brings a skill that no one on the Bears roster has, the ability to be an explosive pass-rusher off the edge. At 6’6, 244 pounds with a lighting quick first step and natural bend off the edge, Floyd has more potential to be an impact pass-rusher than anyone on the Bears roster.
Floyd’s lack of bulk and strength make him a long-shot to be anything more than a situational pass-rusher as a rookie, but he has a plethora of other skills including good instincts against the run, innate timing on the blitzes, and enough mobility to cover backs and tight ends in the flat. His ceiling is sky-high, but it might take a year or two for Floyd to add the strength needed to be a 3-down player. In the meantime, Floyd could be a dangerous weapon off the edge in passing situations.
Whoever loses the battle for the starting LB position across from McPhee should be the other back-up across from Floyd. If I had to bet I’d say it’s Willie Young, whose strength against the run should be a good balance across from the rookie Floyd.
Next: Position Battle (53-man Roster)