Philly native Sharrif Floyd a potential top-5 pick

Philly native Sharrif Floyd a potential top-5 pick
February 25, 2013, 9:00 am
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INDIANAPOLIS – Sharrif Floyd can’t help but think about it.

There’s a very good chance he’ll be a top-5 pick in the NFL draft.

He grew up in Philly.

The Eagles have the fourth pick.

It all adds up.

“Back to the City of Brotherly Love,” he said. “It would be good to go back home and see a lot of familiar faces and do something good for the city. I have thought about it.”

Defensive linemen don’t do their on-field workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine until Monday, but Floyd has gradually worked his way up through the first round on a lot of analysts' draft boards and is now considered by many a top-five pick.

Floyd grew up in North Philly and never knew his father, who died when he was 3. He moved several times as a kid, living with an aunt for a while, his grandmother, another aunt.

Despite having little money and a difficult home life, Floyd never got in trouble and graduated from George Washington with a B average. He was heavily recruited out of G.W. and signed with Florida on Feb. 3, 2010.

After three productive years at Florida, it was time for the NFL.

“Before my season started, I sat down with coach [Will] Muschamp and Dan Quinn (former Florida defensive coordinator who replaced Gus Bradley as Seahawks defensive coordinator), and coach Muschamp said, ‘If you’re going in the first round this year, I’m kicking you out,’" Floyd said.

“So ... I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to do after this season, and it allowed me to focus on my team. And at the end of the year, after the Sugar Bowl, coach came in and shook my hand and said, ‘Congratulations, now go make your name known in the league.’ And that was him telling me to get out of Florida.”

Floyd was a first-team all-SEC pick and third-team All-America this past season in Gainesville. In 37 career games, he had 115 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 4½  sacks, three blocked field goals and a forced fumble along the way.

“Man, he’s a beast,” said Florida’s Xavier Nixon, one of the top offensive tackle prospects at the Combine. “He’s a great leader, man. He’s a playmaker and he always handles his responsibilities on and off the field.”

Is Floyd a top-10 pick? A top-five pick?

“I think Sharrif Floyd is a top-five pick, I think he's going to be a big-time, impact player that people don't know about,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “I've got him rated higher than the Utah kid (Star Lotulelei).

“What is most important about this kid is his explosion. He reminds me, and I'm not going to say he's ever going to be Warren Sapp, but it's that type of first-step explosion. He can get an edge as a pass-rusher.

“He's strong enough to push the pocket. He's stout against the run, and he can run sideline to sideline when he is fresh and can run, it's really special. ... Sharriff Floyd might be one of the best two or three players in this draft from where you can line him up.”

Floyd said at the Combine Saturday that he likes that status. He likes being projected as a top-five pick, and he’s going to do everything he can to make it come true.

“It’s kind of like, ‘You give me that [status], and I’m not giving it up,’” he said. “It’s that kind of a thing. Honestly, they feel I’m at the top and I’m trying not to lose that right now. If they’re talking about me, let’s keep them talking about me.

“I’ve been getting ready to put on a show here. I can’t wait to run actually. I’ve just been focusing on the task at hand and not letting anything get me above where I am right now or below.

“I’m just patiently waiting for Monday to come, going through the process and enjoying everything that they’re throwing at me.”

Floyd played everywhere on the defensive line at Florida -- zero technique [nose tackle], three technique [lining up opposite the guard], five technique [3-4 defensive end], but the consensus is that he projects as a three-technique in the NFL.

“Inside is much closer to the ball and to running plays that are going toward you or away from you and it’s much easier to disrupt plays that are going away,” he said. “Outside, you have to be a little more patient in some situations. The ball can run away from you, and you have to chase it down from behind.

“But still they both get their fair share of disruption and sacks and things of that nature, so there’s a different mindset at the two positions. But you get more contact at the three technique, and I needed to get down there where it was noisy.”

The Eagles need to rebuild their defense, and Floyd seems like a logical starting point.

If they did draft him at No. 4, he’d be the fifth defensive tackle they’ve taken in the first round in 14 years, after Corey Simon in 2000, Mike Patterson in 2005, Brodrick Bunkley in 2006 and Fletcher Cox last year.

For years, it was unthinkable to draft a tackle in the first five picks. From 1977 through 2009, only nine were taken that high.

But over the last few years, the Buccaneers took Gerald McCoy third, the Lions drafted Ndamukong Suh second and the Bills selected Marcell Dareus third.

“In my eyes, I feel I’m a leader, I’m a dynamic player,” Floyd said. “I’m going to go out there and disrupt at my position and everything that’s needed for a defensive tackle and that they need, I have.”

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