It’s time to talk about Rams EDGE Leonard Floyd’s amazing 2020 season

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Doug Farrar
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In March, the Rams signed former Bears edge-rusher Leonard Floyd to a one-year, $10 million deal. The primary reason for this was that new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley had experience with Floyd during their time together in Chicago, when Staley was the outside linebackers coach in 2017 and 2018.

The deal was panned by most media outlets, and it’s easy to understand why. Floyd’s sack totals dropped from 7.0 to 4.5 to 4.0 to 3.0 in his four seasons with the Bears, and he never amassed more than 39 total pressures in a season. Pro Football Focus was particularly quizzical about the deal.

Leonard Floyd never blossomed into the pass-rusher we all thought he’d turn out to be as a top-10 prospect just a few seasons ago. Since he entered the league in 2016, Floyd ranks 67th of 76 qualifying edge defenders in PFF pass-rush grade and owns the fifth-highest percentage of pressures that were either a cleanup or unblocked. As said, the offensive line needs a lot of work, and that money could have gone there as opposed to risking it in Floyd, hoping he just needs a change of scenery.

Turns out, a change of scenery was exactly what Floyd needed. In the 2020 regular season, he set a career-high in sacks with 10.5, and a career-high in pressures with 45. He’s also improved exponentially as a run defender, which is where he first showed up on my radar, and how he made my “Secret Superstars” team in Week 6 against the 49ers.

Floyd who had four run stops on 33 run defense snaps. He was lightning-quick to the backfield over and over. This six-yard Deebo Samuel loss was a perfect example of how Floyd can use his speed, quickness off the snap, and grit (not to mention a towel Samuel should keep tucked in!) to limit one of the NFL’s most complex and effective run games.

But when you’re an edge-rusher, you’re paid for sacks and pressures, and Floyd has been especially effective against Russell Wilson this season. This sack at the start of the second quarter in the wild-card round, in which Floyd just demolished right tackle Brandon Shell, is but one example.

It took Floyd a while to get the hang of his position in the NFL, but he’s certainly come alive in his fifth season. He’ll really cash in when he becomes a free agent in the 2021 league year.