LAKE FOREST, Ill. — One year ago, the Bears traded the 11th overall pick in the NFL Draft and a fourth-round pick to move up to number nine to draft Leonard Floyd — and almost no one thought twice about it.
But when the Bears traded the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, plus two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick to move up one spot to draft Mitch Trubisky second, alarm bells went off around the National Football League.
Floyd received a much warmer initial welcome than Trubisky because, unlike the young quarterback, Floyd was pretty much universally ranked right in the neighborhood where the Bears took him, and everybody with a pulse knew the Giants were going to take him at 10 had the Bears not moved up.
By now we’ve all spent more than enough time on the questions surrounding the Bears' “bold” move for Trubisky.
Concerns with Floyd had nothing to do with lack of experience and game tape and everything to do with his lack of size. He was worthy of the Bears' affection — but would he ever get big and strong enough to meet their expectations?
His rookie campaign was a mixed bag including flashes of star potential, occasional proof his lack of bulk was an issue and several injuries, including a pair of concussions that cost him a quarter of the season.
In his first media session since last season, Floyd addressed the issue of his weight with a touch of mystery. “I don’t want to say (how much) and let everybody know, but I definitely gained some weight," he said. "I just wanted to be as heavy as I could get, and whatever I weigh, I weigh.”
A minute or two later, when one a reporter threw out 247 pounds, Floyd just laughed and said, “Wow, you’d be pretty warm with that number.”
He was actually listed at 245 last year but appeared closer to 230, and if he has in fact added 15 pounds of muscle, it just might be enough. Current NFL sack leader Vic Beasley Jr. is three inches shorter than Floyd but plays at 245.
A bigger concern for the Bears has to be the concussions, knowing the impact head trauma is having on the game today and that Floyd suffered two in a short period of time.
“It took me two months to really feel like I was back to myself," Floyd said. "I was just at the house, relaxing, getting my mind back together. After those two months, I felt back.”
Asked if he was troubled it took him that long to recover, he said, “No, it wasn't worrisome. Before I left they just told me to take it easy, don't try and work out and do too much until I feel completely fine thinking-wise. It happened sometime in February, and I went out and worked out and stuff got right for OTAs.”
Floyd explained some of his symptoms while in the concussion protocol.
“You just don't feel normal, you know it's this thinking part like you don't think the same," he said. "I wasn't thinking like I normally would think, and then I'd be staring off in space some times instead of paying attention.
“It gradually got better. Day by day I was able to focus more and my mind wasn't all racing everywhere and I was able to lock in on things.”
In many respects, a healthy, fully grown Floyd could be the key to the Bears making a huge leap this year if he makes the strides Beasley Jr. did as a sophomore last year, as the Bears defense appears to be a lot closer to a finished product that the offense is.
The scary part for the Bears is that, medically speaking, Floyd is more likely to suffer another concussion than Kevin White is to break another bone.
Wednesday he was just a very happy young man, excited to be back on a football field.