With free agency firing on all cylinders, several NFL teams have made moves this offseason to shore up weaknesses. And because of those offseason acquisitions, coupled with his superior athletic ceiling, former Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is the fastest rising player on any NFL draft board and has been for the last month.
Prior to the NFL Combine, I said Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson would win the combine and be the fastest rising star on the NFL radar, but Floyd has surged onto the scene unlike any other. Exiting February, Floyd was dubbed first-round potential by NFL scouts, but after showing off his enormous athleticism tapped into a body that’s north of 300 pounds, Floyd will be the draft’s biggest winner.
His versatility is what sets him apart athletically. Floyd can play tackle in a 4-3, but he can easily transition over to a defensive end in a 3-4 alignment. He can take on two blockers, collapse any pocket and pursue plays across the field.
Floyd was great at Florida, but he’s capable of so much more. He racked up 115 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in his three-year career. Floyd will remind you of former LSU star Glenn Dorsey, who posted 10.5 more career sacks in one more season. Still, despite the lack of sack numbers, Florida’s coaching staff raved about Floyd throughout his career.
“He’s a leader. He’s an outstanding young man. When he walks on that field and says something, he commands a lot of respect, “ said head coach Will Muschamp in 2011.
Floyd won’t fall out of the top five in next month’s draft, and some are speculating the Chiefs may just select Floyd No. 1 overall.
But above all the on-field accolades, Floyd is an even better person. His impoverished background and adoption is well documented, and Muschamp even hammered the NCAA in Floyd’s defense in 2011, when Floyd was suspended for receiving ‘preferential treatment’.
“I’m angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed that Sharrif will have to miss two games.
In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. As we indicated in the statement Saturday night his issue was not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.
Sharrif is what is good about college athletics – his life is about survival, struggle, disappointment and adversity. I have recruited kids that did not know where they would sleep that night or what they would eat. Growing up, Sharrif was one these kids. Sharrif’s life is also about triumph, honesty, integrity, determination, perseverance and character. The NCAA stated that he received preferential treatment; there is nothing preferential about his life.”
Floyd came from nothing and became something – something so great he could just be the NFL Draft’s first overall pick.
Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports