clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

10 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 3 - Leonard Floyd needs to be “That Guy”

For the 10th straight year, I’m bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season. At No. 3 is the pass rusher they need to stay healthy, Leonard Floyd.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie in 2016, the Chicago BearsLeonard Floyd flashed the speed and athleticism that showed what he truly could be if developed properly. Unfortunately he missed four games to injury that year. When he did play he showed speed off the edge and an ability to drop back and cover. His strength at setting the edge in the run game needed some work, but the tools were all there to be an impact player.

Floyd came into his second professional season in great shape with some added muscle, and expectations were high. Unfortunately he missed six games with an injured knee last year too. When he was healthy, he still flashed juice off the edge, including some new pass rush moves, and he was also stronger at the point of attack.

But through two years, those injuries are preventing Floyd from reaching his full potential. Considering his high draft status, and the high expectations from his coaches, Floyd hasn’t gotten it done.

I think it’s safe to say that so far, Floyd’s Bears’ career has been a disappointment.

From his first to second season, his sacks decreased from seven to four and a half, but his quarterback hits increased from nine to twelve. All those numbers are very disappointing.

Floyd needs to be better, but he also needs to be healthy. He needs to be more consistent in pressuring the quarterback, a team-wide problem for the Bears. With this defense in Year 4 of the Vic Fangio system, there should be nothing left out of game plans in 2018. The coaches and players are primed for a big year, and now they need to put it together.

The Bears are stout against the run, and in order to take that next step as a defense, they need to start getting after quarterbacks. Floyd should be the centerpiece in the Bears’ pass rush.

The Bears need Floyd to be “That Guy” on defense, because their lack of movement on getting higher quality outside linebacker help speak to just how much they expect from him. They cut Willie Young and passed on bringing back Lamarr Houston. They added a reclamation project type of free agent in Aaron Lynch, and rolled the dice on a late round draft pick coming off an injury in Kylie Fitts. I do think Lynch can bounce back, and I like the upside that Fitts has, but these low risk moves show me that the Bears are banking on Floyd bringing consistent pain off the edge.