Leonard Floyd: ‘Bears were one of my favorite teams’ in draft
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Every draft pick is happy to be a Bear, but Leonard Floyd seems to mean it more than most.
“It got to be the ninth pick [in the first round] and it was Tampa’s turn and I had gotten a phone call,” Floyd said Friday afternoon during an introductory press conference at Halas Hall. “But they told me it was the Bears and I quickly jumped up, because the Bears were one of my favorite teams.
“They always shoed me the most love during the process. So I felt like it was a dream come true being drafted by the Bears.”
Floyd wanted the Bears almost as much as the Bears wanted Floyd. General manager Ryan Pace traded an early fourth-round draft pick (No. 106 overall) to move from 11th to ninth in the first-round of the NFL draft on Thursday night to make sure he could select the 6-6, 244-pound outside linebacker from Georgia.
The ever-polite Floyd, responding to most questions with “Yes, sir,” “No, sir” and “Yes, ma’am,” said the Bears showed the most interest during the draft process and he returned the favor.
“They talked to me the most. They always asked how I was doing outside of the draft and stuff — how my son was doing and things like that,” Floyd said. “Basically they just has this vibe together. I felt like we could do some great things together and I’m happy they picked me.
Floyd has the potential to be a pass-rushing star in the NFL, but his success is not a sure thing. The Bears seem like a good match, with head coach John Fox and especially defensive coordinator Vic Fangio each having a hist0ry of developing defensive playmakers.
Floyd also well aware of that factor.
“I definitely wanted to be on the right team, with the right scheme,” he said, “and obviously the Bears running the 3-4 [defensive alignment] is the perfect fit for me because I’ve been running 3-4 my whole college career. It was a great fit coming here.
“I’ve known [Fangio is] a great coach. He’s going to teach me — and it’s my job to be coachable and do what he says.”
Pace’s contention is that Floyd’s modest sack totals — 4 1/2 last season at Georgia — were the result of Floyd being moved around in the Bulldogs’ defense. He’s looking forward to playing one position — outside linebacker — with the Bears.
“I’m very excited about [being] focused on one position,” Floyd said. “That way I can push the maximum at that position. I’m very excited about that.”
Floyd said he was going to apply for the NFL draft last year, but shoulder surgery forced him to wait until this year — “which I’m happy about,” he said. “Because I wouldn’t be a Bear if I would have come out last year.”