Perhaps there was a lot of confusion as to why Sharrif Floyd slipped all the way to the Vikings at 23 in Thursday's NFL draft. Surprising as it may be, this slide actually makes a ton of sense. Floyd is only a marginal athlete who did not produce in area of the game at the level to justify a top-five or even top-10 value.
The good news is that at this spot in the draft the risk of a taking a guy like Floyd is less of a concern, especially considering the Vikings had three picks in the first round.
His best attributes are his impressive combination of functional strength and quickness in tight spaces. This is how he was able to establish himself as one of the best penetrators from the interior line position. Floyd has also taken snaps at defensive end during his time at Florida.
One concern surrounding Floyd’s pro potential is his limited size, coming in just over 300 pounds and having relatively short arms at approximately 32 inches long. This could cause him to struggle against the much larger linemen in the NFL. He does have some bust potential, but this was somewhat reduced by his significant drop into the later part of Round 1.
With that said, there is still a tremendous amount of star potential in Sharrif Floyd. There is a ton of value in an interior lineman capable of mounting a pass rush and collapsing the pocket. After all, the NFL is a passing league, and his specific skill set translates favorably for the trend of passing offenses. Big men who move well in space will always have a home in the NFL.
For a defensive tackle Floyd should project well as a fantasy option considering he is now one of the more disruptive interior rushers in the league. He has a knack for generating pressure and getting sacks on the QB. If his production can carry over at the next level, expect him to be a great fantasy prospect in an IDP league.
With the recent retirement of long-time starter Pat Williams, the timing could not have been more perfect. Sharrif should plug in right away as the starter in the 3-technique position. There really isn’t much depth at defensive tackle for the Vikings, and his starting position will likely be uncontested.
Grade the selection
In nearly every predraft mock, Sharrif Floyd was projected to go in the top five. Most of those mocks have the Oakland Raiders taking him with the third overall. This would have been a terrible selection had it come to fruition; however, Floyd’s slide allowed him to fall all the way to 23 and into a position that’s far more justifiable for what he brings to the table.
Floyd does have some bust potential, but he also has an intriguing upside that could render him the steal of the first round five years from now. There are some who believe that Sylvester Williams is a better prospect than Floyd, and both were available at the time.
Despite this speculation, nothing should diminish this fantastic opportunity to get a potential top-five prospect in the 23rd spot. With this pick, the Vikings happened to be in the right place at the right time. There should be a lot of excitement in the Vikings’ camp this weekend, as they had a very active first round—which started right here with Sharrif Floyd.