First Round: 23rd Pick
It's pronounced "sha-REEF," but Florida's opponents would forgive you if you called one of the best defensive tackles in the 2013 NFL draft "Sheriff" because he resembled the long, strong arm of the law in the trenches for the Gators. Why is this prospect one who continues to be mentioned among the top 10 players in this draft?
Floyd is 6'3", 303 pounds, but he has a very quick first step that allows him to make plays in the backfield with regularity. Once Floyd gets across the face of the blocker, there's very little he can do to stop him from getting to their destination.
In addition, he is country-strong and can shed blockers when he doesn't get the drop on them at the snap, even ragdolling players near his height and weight when they get in his way. Floyd can tie up double-teams when offenses figure out that he'll eat guards up in one-on-one situations.
Floyd is just an average athlete for a big man in terms of quickness, change of direction and foot speed. He looks heavy-legged in pursuit and can be eluded in the backfield by shifty running backs and athletic quarterbacks. Floyd creates some pressure by collapsing the pocket, but he isn't a natural pass-rusher. He tends to get neutralized too easily when he stands up and plays with a high pad level.
Floyd wins on most plays with a combination of natural size, functional strength and an explosive first step. He has long arms and strong hands that allow him to make arm tackles on backs in the backfield. Floyd's wide frame and strong base give him a great presence against the run and double-teams.
He has good balance to keep driving at his target while an offensive lineman is trying to steer him in the other direction. On the whole, he is a power player with the initial burst to give an offense nightmares.
For a player who tips the scales at over 300 pounds, Floyd has terrific stamina to make a difference in the fourth quarter. He doesn't take plays off, and his motor generally runs hot.
Despite a suspension for two games by the NCAA when he was suspected of taking financial help from someone not associated with the university, he is considered a high-character player who overcame a very rough upbringing to get to where he is.
During his career, Floyd lined up at every position on the defensive line of Florida's 4-3 defense. He mostly plays 3-technique defensive tackle or lines up directly over the guard, but he can also lines up at defensive end on rundowns, and he played zero-technique nose tackle as a pass-rusher in the Gators' nickel defense.
Floyd's first step is lethal, and it can give him a clear path to get a hand on the quarterback—or at least flush him from the pocket. When Floyd doesn't penetrate with his first step, he gets too upright and can be thwarted too easily. He has flashed a swim move, and even the rare spin move from a 300-pounder, but his pass-rush creativity is very limited.
He doesn't usually employ a strategy of getting into his opponent's pads to jolt or punch them back off the snap, despite his brute strength. Floyd does do a decent job of getting his hands up at the right time to disrupt passing lanes as he is rushing the passer.
Against the Run
Floyd is almost impossible to redirect by a run-blocking offensive lineman, unless he incorrectly wanted to go in that direction anyway. He will, at worst, hold the point of attack and force the play to go elsewhere.
His first-step quickness, strength and fight to shed blocks keeps him disrupting plays in the backfield at an outstanding rate. He is strong enough to arm tackle most running backs, and he can stop big backs cold in their tracks.
One deficiency here is that Floyd is very slow in pursuit and will not affect the play if it does not happen via his initial penetration or being in the way of the running back at the point of attack.
In a nutshell, Floyd plays on the offense's line of scrimmage against the run.
Wrapping up is easy for a player with Floyd's long arms, and those arms are thick enough to bring most backs down like a thick low-hanging branch of an oak tree. He is stout enough to keep from budging against bigger power backs. Floyd's lack of lateral agility does make him easy to elude in open space.
Use of Hands
Floyd is an active hand fighter, and he will use his hands to get an offensive lineman's mitts off his jersey with a violent chop. His swim move is very smooth for a big defensive tackle, and in general, his hands are fast for a power player. He successfully sheds blocks with hand fighting and even throws a blocker aside or defeats a double-team due to this ability in this area.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Floyd's first-step strength and size makes him a candidate to be a two-gap, 5-technique defensive tackle in a 3-4, but his overall power and quickness would be maximized as a one-gap, 3-technique defensive end in a 4-3. He can also play defensive end on obvious rundowns and rush the passer from a three-man front in the nickel and dime defensive sets.
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