Since 2009, there have been 19 defensive ends or outside linebackers picked within the top-12 of the NFL draft. Of those 19, five of those players were 23 or 24 years old during their rookie campaigns. Those five players are:
- Tyson Jackson, 3rd overall, 2009
- Dion Jordan, 3rd overall, 2013
- Ezekiel Ansah, 5th overall, 2013
- Vic Beasley, 8th overall, 2015
- Leonard Floyd, 9th overall, 2016
That’s the list. I’m not necessarily making a point about age, but that’s the list. I didn’t intend to cherrypick based on starting with the year 2009 or stopping at the top-12, but that’s the list. If there is an expanded or different set of criteria, then add it to the comments and we’ll look at that list.
But as for now, that’s the list.
The Chicago Bears took Floyd after he had posted 4.5 sacks in 13 games as a junior at Georgia. I’ve written several times before about Floyd’s career history but the short version of the story is that he showed promise as a pass rusher as a rookie and then that part of his game never developed. Prior to signing a one-year deal with the LA Rams in 2020, Floyd recorded three sacks — and zero tackles for a loss outside of those sacks — during 16 games with the Bears in 2019.
LA showed faith in Floyd that probably would not have existed if it weren’t for his draft status in 2016, but then he did respond with season totals that helped justify the signing.
Floyd set career-highs with 55 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 19 QB hits, and one forced fumble. He had 11 tackles for a loss but every sack counts for a tackle for a loss. So he didn’t have any tackles for a loss outside of his 10.5 sacks.
Of those 10.5 sacks, five came against Russell Wilson, often the most-sacked QB in the NFL, two came against his old team when Nick Foles was starting for the Bears, and Floyd reached double-digits when he got to Chris Streveler in Week 17. Streveler was a backup to Kyler Murray who nobody had ever heard of prior to Week 17.
Floyd added two more sacks on Wilson in the wild card round, but in a season-high 70 snaps against the Packers in the divisional round, without a healthy Aaron Donald, Floyd had three tackles, no sacks, no pressures.
The Rams signed Floyd to a four-year, $64 million contract in March, guaranteeing half of his deal based on the belief that he would be more than a run-stopping linebacker. Surely they would like to see him reach double-digit sacks again, but perhaps with more consistency than what Floyd displayed in his 18 games last year.
Do you believe that Floyd will do better, worse, or the same than his sack total from 2020?
How many sacks will Leonard Floyd have during the 17-game season in 2021?
This poll is closed
More than 12