What Will Shariff Floyd Bring to Minnesota?
By Travis West
Sharrif Floyd is no stranger to facing adversity.
Before the coveted Florida defensive tackle became one of top prospects in the NFL Draft, Floyd persevered through the death of his father at the age of 3 years old to growing up in the rough area of Philadelphia. For some it has tough to avoid the traps of growing up in rough neighborhoods, but Floyd instilled discipline in himself through football.
"I think football saved me because it kept me focused on something instead of nothing,” he said. “Every time I thought of doing something wrong, I would think of how it would affect football. That’s what kept me on the right track."
While at Florida, Floyd would face adversity again when he was suspended for two games in the 2011 season after receiving benefits. The benefits came from a businessman who mentored Floyd. After the suspension, the businessman, Kevin Lahn, went on to adopt Floyd.
Floyd was expected to be a top five pick. When he did not get drafted until 23rd overall by the Minnesota Vikings, Floyd felt an even bigger chip on his shoulder. Although Floyd said that the drop in the draft did not effect him in his first Vikings press conference, the soft-spoken Floyd will undoubtedly release his aggression on the field.
Minnesota's first of three first-round draft picks became the newest addition to an already good defensive line. The Vikings have been looking for a replacement for Pat Williams who signed a one-day contract on Apr. 25 to end his career in purple and gold. Floyd could be that player.
While at Florida, Floyd showed that he can play every position on the defensive line and do so at a high level. His versatility will allow the defense to use Floyd in many different ways. Being able to move a player like Floyd can make blocking him a nightmare. His 13 tackles for a loss led his team in 2012.
A player with Floyd's athleticism and motor lined up alongside Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Brian Robison will require an offensive line to decide which player they want to double team and which one they are willing to leave in one-on-one coverage. Williams will be a great teacher for Floyd as he tries to his way around, and in time, Floyd could become a consistent pro bowler.
Arguably, the best attribute Floyd has is his pursuit. Floyd can quickly locate the ball carrier and if not make the tackle, will disrupt the play. He also possesses elite ability. With Williams taking the 6-foot-3 297 lbs tackle under his wing, Floyd could make a push for Defensive Rookie of the Year or quite possibly make the pro-bowl.
Bottom line is the Vikings got a player who has not only stayed away from the negative distractions, but excelled while doing so.
If Floyd stays committed to perfecting his game day in and day out, skies the limit.