Sharrif Floyd – Young DT Comes With Tremendous Upside

The following is the 3rd in a series of draft profiles for the 1st round pick for the Dallas Cowboys. These profiles are put together with the specific needs of the Cowboys in mind, and is an attempt to examine their resumes and game tape to get an idea of who might fit in best with Dallas come draft day. Surely, circumstances will dictate what actually happens on that day, but we will profile the 8-10 most likely candidates and try to kick the tires on each and every scenario an how it relates to the Cowboys in 2013 and beyond.

Sharrif Floyd
Defensive Tackle
6’2, 297
40 time: 4.90   Bench Press: Did Not Bench at Combine
May 28, 1992 (20)

A gigantic part of being a proper NFL personnel man – especially a General Manager – who pulls the trigger and gambles on the career of a college football player is being able to project how good of a player he can become in time with growth and development. When you are taking a player who is just 20 years old, you have to be able to imagine what he can reasonably become by the time he is fully developed.

This is especially true with a player like Sharrif Floyd who shows flashes of being a fantastic defensive tackle. He can destroy plays and with his athleticism can spend considerable time in the defensive backfield. But, he will work his way up the draft board based quite a bit on what he could be one day, rather than what he was at the University of Florida.

Don’t get me wrong, he had some dynamite performances at times and his tape below will show you that he is a worthy candidate for consideration. But, at the end of the proverbial day, he played 37 games in a Gator uniform and amassed 4.5 sacks total. That seems like a production issue in the SEC that we will need to either explain or account for because if you can’t get to the QB at the college level, are you the type of Warren Sapp/Tommie Harris defensive tackle that the Cowboys need?

Pat Kirwan’s great book, “Take Your Eyes Off The Ball” discusses the two things he looks for that has helped him decide on which defensive linemen/linebackers that he deems worthy out of college and those he doesn’t. The first is “explosion number” based on their combine performances where he adds bench press + vertical leap + broad jump and looks for a number over 70. But, without a proper bench press number to go with his 30″ vertical and his 8’6″ broad jump, we are merely guessing again on Floyd.

The second though is “production ratio” which takes his college statistics and takes sacks + tackles for loss and divides them by games played. The number is supposed to exceed 1.0 and that tells you he is making enough plays to consider over the course of his career. If you take Floyd’s three seasons at Florida, you find that he played in 37 games with 4.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. This puts him at 0.82 plays per game, but can we look at his full body of work? He was in a deep rotation at Florida where he didn’t play a lot as an 18-year old freshman and even as a 20-year old junior was still in a rotation where he spent plenty of time on the sideline. However, if we eliminate that freshman year, his numbers change to 4.5 sacks + 19.5 TFLs divided by 24 games for a ration of the ideal 1.0 that Kirwan speaks of.

There is no question he is an exceptional talent who likely goes very high in this draft. But, if you pop in some of his video you are a bit confused. At times, he looks unstoppable. He gets plenty of “wins” by just his initial burst of the snap which looks like his #1 asset at this juncture of his career. But, why do you still wonder about how good he will be on a consistency basis? Why just 4.5 sacks when he appears that he can do that in a month based on his highlight film?

And what are his weaknesses? Well, besides consistency, I would suggest that he falls into the same trap that many defensive tackles do now days who are converted defensive ends. Remember, all around the sport, the defensive players are being converted to bigger positions to make each spot more athletic. When we make linebackers into defensive ends, we are then taking the old defensive ends and trying to put their quickness on display inside. What happens, though, when a big strong guard attempts to push him back on a run play inside? How about on double teams? We quickly see that his anchor is not what you want there, and he is sometimes a loser in those battles where he does look a bit under-sized against the run.

But, that is the trend with many players, including Sheldon Richardson from Missouri who we will look at next. Do you want explosion players inside? Well, then the big boys who would hold their lines are not going to give you that. This is what causes teams to rotate their defensive tackles for pass rush situations and run situations. If you could designate which personnel you want in there, then this trend doesn’t bother you. But, if you take a guy in the 1st Round, you want him to be ideal in all situations. I think Floyd is good in all spots, but against the run, he either beats his man at the snap or he has questionable anchor. Again, though, he is just 20 years old.

Here are some youtube cut-ups for your own personal eye-ball test. Find the DT who wears #73 and watch:

Vs Georgia

Vs Texas AM

Vs Florida State

The Case For Dallas Taking Sharrif Floyd at #18: I think that besides offensive line, the one spot on the field that begs the attention of the Cowboys to take an elite player would be the defensive tackle position. When switching from the 3-4 to the 4-3, we suddenly see how understaffed the Cowboys are on the entire DL, but specifically inside. They have Jay Ratliff who appears to be nearing the end of his run as a special player and Sean Lissemore who is a rotation guy. Beyond that, they don’t seem like they have many options, especially with Josh Brent likely to be out of the mix for at least a year. Jason Hatcher is a possibility (pending free agent next winter), but they really need a young stud to add to this group and maybe more than one. Floyd is in the group of players who you would love to have, and his highlight film makes you drool about his 3-Technique upside. And again, he is only 20.

The Case Against Dallas Taking Sharrif Floyd at #18: The unknowns always make me nervous when trying to project how we will feel about Sharrif Floyd in 6 years. You will find that defensive tackle has as high a “boom or bust” history as just about any position on the field. There are so many promising DTs that never turn into anything at the next level. Is Floyd a risk? He appears to be a lower risk than many, but with this many potential Top 50 players who can all play inside on a 4-3, I think I would not gamble on him being the best of the bunch. I like other DTs a bit more, perhaps based on their college production looks more complete. But, maybe that isn’t the way to think this one through. Maybe a savvy GM can see 3 years from now that Floyd has the highest ceiling. I just am not capable of that, obviously.

There are deceiving reports about where he could go. He has been associated with the Top 5 for a while, but there have recently been at least a few scenarios where he could get to #18. At that point, he might still be the highest player on their board and therefore you take your guy because like we said, he is solid and at a position that really needs to be addressed. But, ideally, I would prefer several other players before him.

So far, of our 3 profiles, I would list them in this order:

1. Chance Warmack- Report Here
2. Jonathan Cooper – Report Here
3. Sharrif Floyd