Inside Slant: Leonard Floyd set to terrorize SEC tackles

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The first week of the college football season saw 27 defensive players notch two quarterback sacks or more. That makes Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd's two sacks, on paper, indistinguishable among them. To Joe Gore, however, Floyd distinguished himself just fine. Gore is the Clemson offensive tackle Floyd primarily wore out in the second half of the Bulldogs' 45-21 trouncing of the Tigers.

Hear this: Floyd is the hottest young edge rusher in the SEC, bar none.

And while the fact that he's a wiry-thin 6-foot-4, 230 pounds might be an issue where his NFL draft stock is concerned, that will be of no consolation to Gore and the rest of the offensive tackles Floyd terrorizes this fall.

"Just body-wise, he reminds me a lot of young Barkevious Mingo at LSU," one scouting source told College Football 24/7. "He's thin and angular, and you wonder how well he can hold the point of attack on a running play right at him, but as a pass rusher, he's got a quick first step and quick hands and he is a handful."

Mingo, of course, didn't let a thin frame hold him back in the NFL draft, either. In his last year at LSU, Mingo was listed at 6-5, 240 pounds -- just a shade bigger than Floyd -- and he became the No. 6 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns. Size might not matter when Floyd's time to be drafted comes, either.

And that time could be coming sooner rather than later. Although only a sophomore, Floyd would be eligible for next year's draft because, after spending 2012 at Hargrave Military Academy, he will be three years removed from high school. And if his upcoming season at Georgia plays out anything like his first game did, you can bet there will be plenty of agents trying to sway him to turn pro this winter. Floyd made seven tackles against Clemson, adding a forced fumble and a whopping six quarterback hurries to his pair of sacks. For perspective on that, consider that Clemson's Vic Beasley -- a top pro prospect himself and one of the nation's most dominant pass rushers -- had just 12 quarterback hurries the entire season last year.

It's not as though Floyd just popped up out of nowhere. As a freshman last year, he recorded 6.5 sacks and established himself as one of the SEC's most promising young players. But the addition of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt in Athens makes for a ideal situation for Floyd. Pruitt learned defense at the foot of Nick Saban, whose defense has always called for an athletic linebacker to rush the passer off the edge on most every down. And while Georgia fans thought its pass-rushing torch last year would likely be passed from Steelers first-round pick Jarvis Jones to linebacker Jordan Jenkins, it appears now to have been passed to Floyd.

Next up, after a Week 2 idle date, Floyd will face South Carolina and its physical, oversized offensive tackles Corey Robinson (6-8, 344) and Brandon Shell (6-6, 333). Suffice it to say, they'll have their hands full on pass plays.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread.*

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