Leonard Floyd has been somewhat of an enigma since the NFL draft process started. He’s flashed brilliance on the football field as a collegiate athlete, whether it’s at his main position of outside linebacker or lined up elsewhere.
He’s also drawn the ire of NFL draft analysts, who believe he should have produced more during his three years at Georgia. The new body type since the college football season ended – 6-foot-6 and 248 pounds, and four pounds heavier since the NFL scouting combine – is beginning to look more like a next-level pass-rusher, which was evidenced by his elevated draft stock.
But the questions still exist. Will he become the next Justin Houston? Or is he in the mold of Barkevious Mingo?
At the NFL combine, Floyd ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash and posted a 39 ½-inch vertical jump. The goal at Georgia’s pro day on Wednesday was to once again prove he’s a definite upper-tier prospect in this year’s draft.
"I hope I improved my status," Floyd said. "It’s always good to improve your status. I know it’s the same. Either I did better or either I did worse. I think I did good."
Floyd will still have the opportunity to hold private workouts with teams. But the only measurable he attempted on Wednesday was the vertical jump, which came in at 35 inches – 4 ½ inches below what he posted at the NFL combine.
During agility drills, Floyd stopped his workout and went to the restroom. He did not return to participate in positional drills. He later stated he ate something for breakfast that didn’t agree with his stomach, which forced him to end his day early.
In a display of candor, Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff seemed dissatisfied about Floyd failing to finish his workout.
"Look, he’s a very good football player and very athletic. He’s got the size and the arm length, and has a lot of what people are looking for," Dimitroff said. "Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see a full workout here."
In a follow-up question, Dimitroff was asked if he felt others would also be disappointed to see Floyd, who ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has going 11th overall in his most recent mock draft, stop his workout too soon.
"I think people are here to watch the big-ticket guys," Dimitroff said. "That’s an important thing for them. Hopefully it’s something that’s not serious."
Dimitroff’s point seemed to get at the fact that representatives from most, if not all, NFL teams traveled to Athens to see Floyd work out. Among those were New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan – who brought his brother, Bills assistant Rob Ryan, with him.
Those that made the trip to see Floyd left without getting the full price of admission, which may have raised a few eyebrows – stomach ache or not.
At the same time, Floyd’s talent level is undeniable. He has a workout scheduled with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, along with Georgia teammates Jordan Jenkins and Jake Ganus. He has another meeting next Friday with the Indianapolis Colts.
The interest will be there as not too many players of Floyd’s stature come along that often. At Georgia, Floyd was asked to do a little bit of everything based on his football acumen and athletic build. He played Georgia’s Mike, Jack and Sam linebacker positions, along with being a substitution star position player in the secondary.
Floyd made his presence felt during his time at Georgia, recording a team second-best 74 tackles and a team-best 4 ½ sacks in 2015. Having to play such a versatile role, since he couldn't focus on just one task, possibly led to the criticism that he hasn’t shown up on tape on a consistent basis.
Floyd dismissed the criticism but said everyone is entitled to their opinion, as is he.
But in the NFL, Floyd won’t have to be the utility man he was asked to be at Georgia. He’ll head to the professional ranks with one priority and that’s to rush the passer. It’s a role he’s looking forward to since he can settle on just one position, which is something he never had the chance to do while at Georgia.
"It’s going to be a big relief," Floyd said. "I haven’t had the chance to really focus on one position since I’ve been in college. It’s really going to be good for me."