“One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” –Benjamin Disraeli
Sharrif Floyd is being given a golden opportunity, and the defensive tackle out of Florida needs to really step up in his drills and in his pro day to prove he can play. The big news late today was Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei will not be participating in drills at the combine due to a heart condition that was discovered in Indianapolis. Star was on top of most people draft boards in terms of defensive tackles, with Floyd trailing close behind him. With this news that Lotulelei could drop due to medical concerns, Floyd could shoot up to the top spot if he proves himself.
On film Floyd looks pretty impressive. The first thing I always look for in defensive lineman is their ability to push the line of scrimmage, and Floyd does that very well. He seems to have a good combination of strength and speed that makes it hard for some offensive lineman to block. While I saw him struggle with some double teams, he does occasionally split double teams with some great technique and he gets off blocks well.
Like with many young players, a problem Floyd needs to work on is his consistency. On the film that I watched, it seemed like he would disappear for some plays. Of course in those same games he would burst through the line and make a tackle in the backfield, but I would still feel better about him if he showed a consistent effort.
While I am slightly concerned about Floyd’s ability, you cannot doubt his heart. In Florida’s game against Texas A&M, Floyd was hurt early on in the game and returned later to make some big plays en route to a 20-17 Gator victory against the Aggies. NFL scouts have to like seeing a player come back and help their team win a big game like that against an SEC opponent on the road.
I think that part of Floyd’s inconsistency problems have to do with his conditioning. I noticed that the later the game wore on, the less of a presence Floyd was in the game. Of course, getting with a strength and conditioning coach at the NFL will help him learn to both pace himself, and train so that he doesn’t get worn down later in games.
Floyd also impressed by his versatility on the defensive line. Floyd played on the inside as well as the outside of the defensive line. This has to be something that NFL scouts will love as they will be comfortable putting him high on their boards despite of the style of defense their team runs. Floyd could probably play both defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense or a defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
Floyd was going to be a first rounder even before the situation with Star Lotulelei. What is going to be very interesting is to see how Floyd responds tomorrow. Whether or not he sinks or swims is going to be a very good sign of how Floyd will respond to the pressures of the NFL. Athletes who are invited to the NFL combine already have enough pressure on them, the added spotlight on Floyd just adds more pressure to the young man from Florida, I can’t wait to see how he takes it.
If Floyd impresses enough tomorrow, and if the medical problems with Lotulelei is enough of a problem that he drops, he could go in the top 10 to a team looking to add a very solid defensive lineman who can make some big plays for your football team.