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10 Most Important Bears of 2017: #2 Leonard Floyd, Monster of the Midway

For the 9th straight year, I'm bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. At #2, outside linebacker, Leonard Floyd.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears need Leonard Floyd to become That Guy on D. You know the guy I’m talking about. That guy that offenses worry about. The defender that offensive coordinators scheme around. That guy that puts fear into the hearts of quarterbacks. The Bears need Leonard Floyd to be a Monster Of The Midway.

Floyd is a unique player on the Bears. He’s their only pass rusher that has the consistent speed to get around the edge. And when I say speed, I’m talking about a guy with a forty time (4.6) only .07 of a second off of what Von Miller did at the NFL Combine. Floyd’s ten yard split is only .02 of a second off of Miller’s 1.59.

Floyd has the speed, he’s honing his technique, and now he’s becoming more comfortable with the scheme and his responsibilities. That will help him play faster, as the game slows down for him. “Everything was just fast when I got here last year,” Floyd said via CSNChicago. “This year’s it’s way slower and I feel like I’m doing pretty good this year.”

Head coach John Fox agreed with Floyd about him growing as a player in year two. “With most players, you go from your freshman year to sophomore or rookie to second year, it slows down, they understand it, they're not thinking, they're reacting,” coach John Fox said via CSNChicago. “And so I'd expect that, and I've seen that already, even in the off-season.”

The other two question marks surrounding Floyd are health and his weight. For his health, he’s been working on keeping his head up to prevent a third concussion. “The crown of my helmet was too low,” Floyd said via ESPN. “I definitely have to be aware because I don’t want to get another concussion. I got to make sure I play every game.”

Floyd missed four games last year, but he still racked up seven sacks, good for third most among rookies.

As for his weight, Floyd is being coy about exactly how much he added this offseason, but he did admit he’s both bigger, and in better shape when compared to a year ago, “It’s like night and day compared to last year.”

His position coach, Brandon Staley, let slip back in May his thoughts on Floyd’s weight. ‘‘His body now is just so much different than when he came in here,’’ Staley told Adam Jahns of the Sun Times. ‘‘He was, like, 225 [pounds] when he came in here; he’s almost 250 [now]. He’s just a lot stronger player. He’s a lot more equipped to handle the rigors of the NFL.’’

A bigger, stronger Floyd could be a nightmare for offensive tackles. Last year he started to show improved technique as a pass rusher as the season wore on. Take a look at these next two clips to see some of his technique.

Check out the hustle and never say quit effort on this sack.

Here’s another angle on that sack on Aaron Rodgers.

His other sack on Rodgers was also of the hustle variety. The clip is a little grainy, but the strip sack went for a TD.

And then of course, you can’t teach speed...

If Floyd can stay away from injury this year, I see double digit sacks and a Pro Bowl for the 2017 season. He has the athleticism, he has the speed, he’s in better shape, his technique is coming along, and his familiarity in the defense is growing.

I think I can speak for all Bears’ fans when I say, we’re ready to see some Monsters.