Bears Season in Review: Leonard Floyd

Bears Season in Review: Leonard Floyd

This was supposed to be the season that Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd finally lived up to his 2016 NFL Draft expectations. Remember those? Floyd was supposed to be Chicago's version of Von Miller in then-coach John Fox's defense. He was supposed to bring elite pass-rushing upside to a defense that was desperate to get after the quarterback.

Instead, Floyd has settled in as a well-rounded starting linebacker who's better in coverage and against the run than he is at creating fear in opposing quarterbacks.

An argument can be made that Floyd's failure to develop into a double-digit sack guy is what led GM Ryan Pace to pull the trigger on the Khalil Mack trade prior to the 2018 season. In a weird way, it's the best thing Floyd's done as a Bear.

But as is often the case when a premier player like Mack is added to a roster, expectations for his teammates are elevated. How can they not be? With all the attention opposing offensive lines pay to Mack, a player with as much alleged talent as Floyd should be able to capitalize on the favorable one-on-one situations he'd see.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened for Floyd in the two seasons playing opposite Mack. In fact, 2019 was his worst as a pass-rusher; he managed just three sacks despite playing all 16 games.

Floyd hasn't been a complete bust for the Bears, however. He was the ninth-highest graded defender on the team this season, per Pro Football Focus, with a 69.8 season mark. It was the best PFF grade of his career even though his impact wasn't all that noticeable on gamedays.

Is Floyd a serviceable starter? The answer is an obvious yes. But serviceable starters don't get paid more than $13 million per year, and that's what Floyd's due in 2020 if the Bears keep their word and pick up his fifth-year option. Since Floyd remained healthy in 2019, Pace can rescind the fifth-year option if he so chooses. And with the Bears already facing salary-cap challenges, keeping that $13 million off the books makes a lot of sense.

The Bears could've done a lot worse than Floyd in 2019, but it became painfully obvious by midseason that Mack needed someone to step up as the Robin to his Batman. It was Floyd's responsibility to be that guy, and he failed.

It would come as no surprise if we've seen the last of Floyd as a starter on the Bears' defense.

A fan's guide for how to watch the NFL Combine

A fan's guide for how to watch the NFL Combine

The 2020 NFL Combine will go a long way in determining the final draft grade for each of the 337 prospects participating in on-field drills. General managers and scouts want to see whether their athletic testing matches the traits noted on film. If a player runs faster than he plays, scouts will question his on-field instincts and overall football IQ. In the alternative, if he runs slower than he plays, questions about level of competition and the ability to 'win' on the NFL level will be raised.

But in order to understand whether or not a prospect is having a good performance, you first have to know what the NFL is looking for as its minimum time/result required for each position and drill.

NFL Hall-of-Fame executive Gil Brandt, one of the legendary draft minds in the sport, shared what has become the standard breakdown each team uses when assessing a player's 40 time, 3-cone drill, broad jump, vertical jump and more.

Check it out:

Keep this page bookmarked this week and refer back to this chart as your favorite Bears prospects try to run and jump their way to Chicago. 

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2020 mock draft sends Bears OL, CB in 2nd round


2020 mock draft sends Bears OL, CB in 2nd round

The 2020 NFL Draft is front and center with the NFL Combine kicking off this week in Indianapolis. The week-long underwear Olympics represents the real start of draft season for the casual fan. Two months from now, we'll find out who the next class of Bears will be, and many of those players will make their case to GM Ryan Pace and the rest of the team's decision-makers over the next several days.

With the unofficial start of draft season comes the need to review the 2020 mock draft landscape. Pace has a chance to add two starters in the second round, and it's important to get a feel for which players could be within reach when Chicago picks at Nos. 43 and 50.

In Joe Marino's latest mock draft for The Draft Network, the Bears add a legitimate starting interior lineman and a cornerback who can challenge to do the same.

At No. 43, Marino sends Chicago Matt Hennessy, the standout center from Temple who can serve in the same capacity for the Bears if Nagy decides to kick Cody Whitehair back to guard. Hennessy was arguably the most impressive offensive lineman at the 2020 Senior Bowl. He routinely won his one-on-one reps and looked every bit the part of a decade-long starter in the middle of an NFL offensive line. 

What makes Hennessy so appealing is his ability to play either center or guard. We saw last season what a position change can do (both good and bad) along the interior of Chicago's offensive line, so depending on what the long-term outlook is for James Daniels and Whitehair, a player like Hennessy can fit any outcome. He'd be a great selection.

At No. 50, Chicago takes Mississippi State cornerback, Cameron Dantzler. This is the first mock draft that has Dantzler pegged to the Bears and it probably won't be the last that has Pace using one of his two second-rounders on a cornerback. The release of Prince Amukamara last week will move cornerback higher on the team's priority list.

Dantzler started 22 games for Mississippi State and totaled five interceptions over the last three seasons. At 6-2, 185 pounds, he brings good height and length to the pros. He projects like a fit in almost any defensive system and could come off the board much higher than the average fan is expecting at this point. How he performs in the athletic testing at the NFL Combine will be critical in his final evaluation. 

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