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As we begin to wind down our coverage on the defensive tackles, the focus shifts to Florida's Sharrif Floyd.
Sharrif Floyd is one of the more unheralded defensive tackles available in this year's draft. Even though Floyd comes from a big-time football program that plays in the SEC, there hasn't been enough buzz surrounding him during the pre-draft process.
As of right now, Floyd probably grades out as a mid-first round pick. Coming out of high school, he was a highly regarded defensive lineman prospect. The pedigree is there for him to continue growing into a complete defensive tackle, but he really hasn't produced eye-popping statistics or game tape.
The Dallas Cowboys will probably be taking a real good look at the defensive tackle from Florida because he could be an option for them at 18.
Positives: Floyd stands in at 6-3, 305 pounds, but he is a very good athlete for a man of his size. Floyd has an amazing burst off the line, and he possesses a cat-like quickness. Because he is so quick, he can get up the field and make plays in the backfield. When rushing the passer, he is great at executing the swim move. His short-area quickness allows him to consistently make plays on the football.
When used in stunts, Floyd uses his athletic ability to move quickly and then uses his hands to beat the offensive lineman in front of him. He can still get better at using his hands, but he is pretty good at using them right now. The Cowboys desperately need to add a lineman who can be effectively used in stunts and Floyd would instantly give them an upgrade there.
When it comes to technique, Floyd has a lot to learn, but he doesn't quit on plays. NFL scouts and teams are going to love seeing Floyd's non-stop motor. He also possesses very good footwork and balance. While his quickness is his best attribute, he also has good strength.
During his time at Florida, Floyd played defensive end and defensive tackle. He's a versatile defensive lineman who's improved every season in college. After moving back inside to defensive tackle, Floyd had his best season at Florida with 46 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and three sacks. It's possible that he hasn't even played his best football yet. When it comes to the draft, I know that upside and potential are scary words, but Floyd definitely fits the bill there.
Negatives: The biggest problem that I have with Floyd is his pad-level. When he gets too upright, offensive lineman can stand him up and keep him out of the play. Because of his size and poor pad level, Floyd will have trouble anchoring along the defensive line. His upper body strength is really good, but he does need to develop more strength in the lower part of his body.
Considering the type of athlete Floyd is, his college production just doesn't add up. Part of that can be attributed to Florida moving him all over the defensive line and not keeping him at one position, but Floyd should have contributed better statistics.
Conclusion: As a football prospect, Floyd is still growing. Because of his starting experience for Florida in the SEC, I wouldn't say he is a developmental project. If the team that drafts him provides Floyd with a coach who can teach him better technique, then he can grow into a very good football player.
Where Floyd plays on the defensive line in the NFL will also determine the amount of success he has. Floyd has the perfect skill set to play the three-technique in our new "Dallas-2" 4-3 defense, but I don't see him becoming a very good one-technique defensive tackle because of his inability to anchor. If the Cowboys draft him to become a three-technique guy then he would be a perfect fit for them.
After the recent success of Geno Atkins, teams will begin looking for faster defensive tackles. I'm not saying Floyd is similar to Atkins because he is much larger, but his athleticism will be the selling point that impresses teams the most. Since Monte Kiffin prefers speed over size, Floyd would fit his criteria.
Sharrif Floyd vs Texas A&M (2012) (via Aaron Aloysius)