LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Leonard Floyd was so impressed during his visit with the Chicago Bears he did not want to leave. The outside linebacker from Georgia will be spending plenty of more time with them.
"The visit was so great, meeting all the people up top who do all the great things for the organization," Floyd said Friday, a day after the Bears moved up two spots in a trade with Tampa Bay to take him with the ninth overall pick. "I really wanted to stay, but I'm glad I'm back."
Floyd mentioned how impressed he was with general manager Ryan Pace, coach John Fox and the training staff. He believes he is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's system, having played in a 3-4 in college. And he believes he will flourish in Chicago, which is just what the Bears are counting on him to do.
They sorely needed playmakers on defense, particularly pass rushers, coming off a 6-10 season and last-place finish in the NFC North. The Bears are counting on the 6-foot-6 Floyd for a boost after tying for 22nd in sacks, even though he had just 4 1/2 last season.
They believe he has the athleticism and will produce bigger numbers in the NFL because he won't be moved inside and outside or dropping back the way he was in college.
"That definitely played a part because sometimes (on) third down I was dropping rather than rushing," Floyd said. "It played a big part in my numbers, my sack numbers."
There are also questions about his strength and how he will fare against bigger linemen in the NFL. The Bears would like Floyd — who is listed at 244 but said he weighs 240 — to add some muscle without sacrificing the speed that makes opponents miserable.
Had he been able to do more in the offseason a year ago, that might have helped. But Floyd had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in December 2014 and a similar procedure on his right shoulder the following May. He said there are no lingering issues, that his shoulders are fine.
He said no team showed as much "love" for him leading up to the draft and that the Bears "were praying" he fell to them. When he got the call at his aunt's house in Atlanta, it was quite a feeling. He had 50 or 60 friends and relatives, including his 1-year-old son Carter, on hand.
"It was like a dream come true," Floyd said. "I've been dreaming of this since I was a little kid. And when I actually got the call, it felt great."
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