Meet Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd

You’ll probably hear a lot about Sharrif Floyd over the next few months. He’s got the kind of back-story the media loves to wax lyrical over. You’ll probably feel like you know the guy personally by April. He’s a former 5-star recruit and top rated defensive tackle, who had to fight for everything he’s achieved. Floyd had a difficult upbringing, as noted by the AP:

Floyd grew up poor and has recounted the time when he wore the same clothes to elementary school every day for months at a time. His biological father died when he was 3 years old, and the man he thought was his father over the next 12 years “didn’t treat me right growing up,” he said. Floyd left home at 15, moved in with grandmother and then bounced around from coaches to friends to other relatives. Muschamp said Floyd still sends his grandmother part of his monthly Pell Grant money.

This is a player who grew up without parents, had to deal with severe financial difficulties and lived with whoever would take him in. As the AP states, he was living with his grandmother for a time – but he also lived with his guidance councillor and his high school coach. Anywhere that provided shelter. And in a few months time, he could be a first or second round NFL draft pick.

The mark of the man is summed up in the following story. Before he began his career with the Gators, he was invited to attend the annual U.S. Army All-American Combine for talented high school students. One problem – he couldn’t afford the trip to San Antonio Texas where the game was taking place (he was brought up in Philadelphia). To raise the cash he cooked brownies with the help of special-education students and sold them for several weeks at his school. He raised enough cash, made it to San Antonio and earned first-team all-combine honours when he got there. By the time he was ready to think about college, he was getting offers from all the big schools – Ohio State, North Carolina, Miami, USC, Florida and Penn State to name a few.

It’s safe to assume Pete Carroll knows about Floyd. He left USC to move to Seattle days before Floyd committed to Florida. We know Carroll likes to go back in for ‘the one who got away’ (Bruce Irvin turned down the chance to join USC in favour of West Virginia). So he’s one to monitor during the post-season.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end with hardship merely leading into college. He was forced to sit out two games in 2011 after receiving what the NCAA describes as ‘impermissible benefits’. Having caught almost no breaks in his life previously, Floyd was finally helped out by a wealthy Philadelphia businessman named Kevin Lahn. Here’s the issue as the NCAA reported:

Receiving $2,500 cash over several months from an individual not associated with the university. Floyd used the money for living expenses, transportation and other expenses. In addition, he received impermissible benefits prior to enrollment, including transportation and lodging related to unofficial visits to several institutions.

This may sound familiar to the Michael Oher story, made famous by a (in my opinion) lousy film from which Sandra Bullock somehow won an Oscar. The difference here is – Oher’s adopted parents had ties to Ole Miss and the NCAA rightly investigated to see if his adoption and care had any significant impact on his decision to attend the school. They had to check to see if he’d basically been recruited by two Ole Miss boosters willing to sacrifice a bedroom for a left tackle. As far as I’m aware, Kevin Lahn has no connection to the Gators. Reports suggest he was a former booster at South Carolina, but apparently they disassociated themselves from Lahn after the NCAA ruling. For more information on the case, read this piece from the Orlando Sentinel.

The whole thing, to me, looks like a kid who finally got a break – and was then punished for getting that break. He’s since been adopted by the Lahn’s and will go on to become a pro-football player. It’ll be hard earned when he gets to the NFL.

So what about his play? He features both inside at tackle and also plays the edge too. He’s quite effective lining up as a five-technique and that might prove to be his best position going forward. He’s improved as a pass rusher this year, finding ways to get into the backfield and flashing a little more burst. Last season he looked a bit slow off the mark and if he’s going to play three-technique in the NFL, he needs to work on exploding off the snap and getting that leverage early. This year there’s some improvement – but for such a talented athlete it’s an area he could be better.

He gets too high when initiating contact and he gets pushed back because of poor technique. Look at the video above at the 2:03 mark. He tries to move left and dip inside to confuse the offensive line. However – the right guard notices this quickly and gets under his pad level quickly with a jolt and just stones Floyd on the spot. He can’t disengage. If he bends his knees and gets the hands in low, he maybe gets the lineman off balance or at least pushes him back. Instead, he’s out of the play. When you dip inside you better have an impact. It basically leaves one undersized defensive end against a guard and left tackle on the right hand side of the line. Not surprising, the DE is on the turf pretty quickly and E.J. Manuel breaks contain and exploits the space to his left.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter that he goes high. At 5:30 he’s playing the edge and just flat out beats the left tackle with an initial punch and then a burst round the edge to get to Manuel. Again, the technique isn’t great here. But he’s just too good. He’s too strong and too fast for the FSU left tackle. It’s a great play and flashes why he could make a better five technique than a three. If he can be this disruptive at the five, it’s going to make life very easy for some of the better 3-4 OLB’s in the league.

That’s not to say that he couldn’t play inside. Clearly he’s an athletic player for his size (approximately 300lbs) and there are times when he throws a little sidestep move to avoid a block and he looks the part of a pro-inside penetrator.

Against the run he’s OK. Again the technique is an issue because he consistently goes too high, but he also lacks a lot of the pure power at the point of attack you see with Star Lotulelei and Sylvester Williams. It’s worth noting that he’s quite a bit lighter than both of those players and could still add muscle to become a better run stopper. The thing he has got in his favour is a good motor. He doesn’t appear to take any snaps off and even though he doesn’t always finish when given the opportunity, he keeps working to make plays. Sheldon Richardson has that same attitude, but the big difference between the two is Richardson is nasty. He’ll take a hit and come back harder on the next play. He gets in your face, he has attitude. Floyd will score much higher than Richardson for character, but it’d be nice to see a bit more of a mean streak at times on the field.

Before people ask, I can’t imagine the Seahawks using him in the Red Bryant role which is essentially a 5-technique. Bryant is much bigger than Floyd. When asked who would replace him if he can’t make the Bears game on Sunday, Pete Carroll said Alan Branch would play DE with 284lbs Greg Scruggs taking over at the three technique. Carroll wants size in the Bryant position, not an orthodox 3-4 defensive end. In fact, he’s probably more likely to draft massive Georgia nose tackle Jonathan Jenkins to play the Bryant role than a guy like Floyd. And whatever people think of Bryant’s play this year – he remains a focal point of the defense. He’s also the highest paid defensive player on the team and a big emotional leader.

Is he likely to be on Seattle’s radar? Possibly given USC and Carroll’s reported¬†interest in him before he chose Florida. However, I think he’s more likely to interest 3-4 teams and the Seahawks might be looking for a more orthodox three technique in the draft, such as the aforementioned Richardson out of Missouri.


  1. Justin M

    This guy looks like a great fit. What round would he be in? If it is later than round 1 I think it would be a great pick up, looks very versatile.

    • Rob Staton

      He’ll likely be a late first or early second round pick.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Not a huge fan of Floyd’s. He looks awkward and plays erect. He does have athleticism, but he’s not really explosive. In fact, his footwork is a lot like Jonathan Jenkins out of Georgia. They both stamp their feet vertically into the ground and get very little leg drive. Both players play very high with poor leverage. If engaged, Floyd and Jenkins pretty much stay engaged. Floyd’s athleticism is obvious when in pursuit and he moves very quickly in space. But that quickness evaporates almost entirely upon contact.

      Both Floyd and Jenkins are basically standoff DT prospects. The main difference is, Jenkins is probably not more than that. He can however force standoffs with more than one blocker. He’s a Gilbert Brown kind of player. Floyd ‘can’ be more than that. But not reliably and not usualy when the other guy does his job to any degree.

      When he does beat a guy, whether by mistake or by just lucking into a good angle — he shows an ability to slide through gaps. But these instances almost look like they only present themselves if the blocker just makes a mistake. He doesn’t show really much of an ability to beat a blocker who is playing fundamentally sound.

      This is a guy that can develop into something pretty special. But that is a huge if. As is, he’s pretty indistinguishable from a guy like Anthony Hargrove. A bigger Hargrove. But he doesn’t play up to his weight. He has the potential to be much more. But that will depend entirely on what he does after draft day.

      He’s a risky prospect. Probably worth a 50th through 100th overall selection based on the premium of the position. There are better DT prospects with late first round grades. He’s kind of like a Golden Tate second round prospect. A guy you probably aren’t going to get much from in his first or second season.

      • Rob Staton

        That’s a very good review, Attyla.

      • dave crockett

        Good write-up Attyla.

        What I see here is another Marcus Tubbs. I mention Tubbs, because if memory serves Muschamp was on that Texas staff with Tubbs. (I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am.) Floyd is not quite as big as Marcus, but not far off either.

        Tubbs was also a guy that didn’t play with great technique but quickly got better with pro coaching AND by playing in a rotation. I always recall Tubbs commenting when questioned about his motor that UT didn’t rotate defensive linemen. You could tap out if tired but really for just a play or two. If that Muschamp connection is correct we could be looking at the same thing; where a guy hitting his substantial upside may be more likely than it initially appears on film.

        For the record, I’m a Richardson guy. Just trying not to get my hopes up. A Mizzou player on the Seahawks? My heart might not be able to take it but I’d go out with a smile on my face.

        • dave crockett

          Note: I meant to say “What I see here is another POTENTIAL Marcus Tubbs.”

  2. AlaskaHawk

    He drew a lot of double teams and still had energy at the end of the game to rush the passer. I’m not sure that he has the agility to go with his strength, when he runs he looks stiff or like he has tender feet. I see him more as a pass rushing defensive end.

  3. Kenny Sloth

    Daniel McCullers is a MASSIVE mammoth of a man from Tennessee. Really struck me during the Aaron Murray tape against them. Went back and he was smacking OL around.

    Also, holy shit. I now want Sylvester Williams more than Alec Ogletree.

    • MJ

      Depending on how the Hawks finish the season…could have an outside chance at landing both. Ogletree will slip down farther than his talent would indicate because of off-field stuff and some injury concerns.

      Williams is an awesome talent but a very old prospect. We have seen over the past few years where older prospects drafted relatively high (Watkins, Peria Jerry, etc) have really underperformed. This might work in our favor as teams might be slightly more reluctant to draft an older guy that high.

      ***This won’t happen, but if we lose this weekend and then Sherm/Browner are out for 4 games, this season could slide quickly. At the same time, we could win this weekend and not have a chance at either guy. Honestly, I am thinking we will see CJ Mosley as the most realistic candidate in R1. 3 down player, safe, smart, will be good value in the 20s (where I expect to pick) and frankly fills a major hole. LBer has turned into a liability on this team. Leroy is done. Wright is overrated and a 2 down player. Wagner is young with 3 down potential. Just my opinion.

      • Michael

        Ya I’m done with Leroy, and it would be nice to have someone faster than K.J. to pair with Wagner in the nickle. After that a DT and some kind of offensive weapon are next on my list. How’s this for an ideal R1-3:

        1) A. Ogletree
        2) S. Willams
        3) T. Austin

        And just for fun…

        7) H. Badger

        • Attyla the Hawk

          Sylvester is my second choice for DT. Where we will eventually select, we will not have the ability to get Williams with our own second round pick.

          The combine changes things a lot. As does the underclassmen that officially declare. Williams is too routinely regarded as a 15th through 40th rated prospect to expect he will be around at 50 something where we are likely to pick.

          The run on positions often times promotes overdrafting. One thing is for sure, there is surprisingly little consensus on who the top 10 or even top 5 prospects are. This does have the feel of a 2009 draft. One without a Matt Stafford.

          With a loosely defined pecking order, the combine is going to differentiate prospects to a greater degree. The risk factor for first round picks is probably going to be higher this year.

          • AlaskaHawk

            Seems like one of the biggest differences is that the quarterbacks have had good and bad games, so no consensus that they should be high picks. There will probably be 3 taken in the first round, but nobody will know if they got the next big thing or the next bust until end of next season.

            Austin has been getting booseted up the boards lately, I think someone will take him in the first round. Someone that already has a complete team like San Francisco or New England… Ouch, I think I feel sick…

            • Michael

              SF just used last year’s first rounder on a smalller speed type WR (A.J. Jenkins) and he hasn’t even seen the field yet. Sure they don’t have any glaring needs, but let me just put it like this: as a Seahawks fan, I would love it if SF used their 1st round pick on Austin.

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