NFL Draft Profile: Florida DT Sharrif Floyd

This is the sixth in a series. Click the link for profiles on Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Oregon’s Dion Jordan. Between now and April’s draft, we’ll profile as many prospects as possible.

THE RESUME

Sharrif Floyd says he was 14-years-old when he watched his first NFL game – the Colts’ Super Bowl win over the Bears in 2007.

“It wasn’t that there was no interest, I just didn’t know nothing about it, so there was no reason to watch it,” Floyd said at the Combine.

Floyd (6-3, 297) grew up in Philadelphia and attended George Washington High School. But he did not have a typical childhood, as chronicled well by NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington:

Not until he was 15 years old — between his sophomore and junior years of high school — did he learn the truth: The man who’d scared Floyd through years of harsh rules and harsher punishments was not actually his dad. His mother dealt with a drug addiction. And his real father was dead.

Floyd turned to football during his teenage years, and thanks in part to people helping him along the way, turned into one of the nation’s top recruits, eventually choosing to sign on with the Gators. Floyd was a freshman All-SEC selection in his first season and started 26 games in three years before deciding to go pro.

Floyd brings positional versatility with the size, strength and athleticism to play multiple spots on the defensive line. As a junior, he had 13 tackles for loss, three sacks and blocked two kicks.

Asked what it would mean to get picked by the Eagles at No. 4, he said, “Back to the City of Brotherly Love it is. It would be good to go back home and see a lot of familiar faces and do something good for the city. I have thought about it.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Greg Cosell of NFL Films (via Pro Football Talk):

“I think Sharrif Floyd is going to be an All-Pro type player right from Day One. I’ve spoken to people in the SEC who say he’s as good a kid as he is a player, and that’s really important when you draft someone No. 1,” Cosell said.

“He’s my favorite player that I’ve seen on tape, and I’ve seen an awful lot of players. He’s an explosive athlete playing defensive tackle. He has really light feet. He’s so gifted physically that he can play anywhere on the line, and I think he will become, like J.J. Watt, a much better pass rusher in the NFL than he was in college football.”

In his latest big board, ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. has Floyd rated as his top prospect:

In the discussion at No. 1. Matches exceptional power and leverage with strong hands and enough athleticism to be tough on even good tackles. He’s also not yet 21. Could be great in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme. Made major strides as the season progressed, the improvement in part stemming from a positional change and consistently improving technique. Floyd can simply drive linemen into the backfield.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has him No. 2, behind Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel:

Floyd thrived when moved from end to tackle in 2012. He is effective in tight quarters, moves well for his size and improved his ability to use upper-body power to shock blockers. He is able to locate the ball, shed blocks and flow to the ball as quickly as any defensive tackle in this year’s class.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has Floyd rated as his top defensive tackle:

“Sharriff Floyd might be one of the best two or three players in this draft from where you can line him up.”

Josh Norris of Rotoworld has Floyd rated as his No. 5 overall prospect:

Experience inside at defensive tackle or on the edge in multiple fronts. Strong at the point of attack to put his opposition on skates but displays enough foot quickness to win off the snap as well. Flashes violent hands to disengage.

AN EAGLES SLANT

The key word here is versatility. Last year, Floyd was used mostly inside. The first image shows him playing the 3-technique defensive tackle in a four-man front.

Here, in the same quarter of the same game, he’s lined up at nose tackle.

And Floyd also spent time at defensive end (moreso in 2011).

As we mentioned yesterday, Chip Kelly doesn’t like one-dimensional players. Floyd could line up at defensive end in a 3-4 or at defensive tackle in a 4-3. He and Fletcher Cox would combine to give the Eagles one of the best young pairs of interior linemen in the entire NFL.

The Eagles still need to add talent up front, and Floyd would give them an explosive, versatile athlete. Also, don’t forget that he’ll only be 21-years-old when he plays his first NFL game. The best for Floyd is yet to come.

MOCK PROJECTIONS

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has Floyd going third to the Raiders.

Kiper has the same thing. McShay too.

Tony Pauline of USA Today has him falling all the way down to 12.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com says it’ll be Oakland.

Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com has Floyd falling to the Panthers at 14.

Norris goes with Oakland.

VIDEO BREAKDOWNS

Here’s a cut-up of Floyd in last year’s bowl game against Louisville (courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com).

It’s easy to see that stats don’t tell the whole story with Floyd. His quickness is what really stands out, specifically against the run. Floyd is constantly creating disruption in the backfield. Even if he isn’t the one finishing, he’s making life a lot easier for his teammates.

At the 2:44 mark, he knifes right past the center and into the backfield. At 3:03, you can see his lateral quickness on a tackle for loss. At 4:36, Floyd uses his size and strength against the guard. And at 5:50, he perfectly executes a twist with his fellow lineman, showing off his athleticism on the way to the quarterback.

Click here for more video cut-ups of Floyd.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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