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Giants set to face former draft target Leonard Floyd

Chicago Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) celebrates

Chicago Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) celebrates sacking Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: AP / Nam Y. Huh

The Giants get a chance to see a little of what might have been this week when they face the Bears and rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd. Leading up to the draft this past spring, many people believed the Giants had their eye on Floyd, and as the first round unfolded, he certainly looked more and more like the choice for them.

That’s probably what the Bears thought, too. So they traded with the Bucs to the ninth spot, just ahead of the Giants’ 10th selection, and grabbed him.

“You (trade up) when you see something you like,” Bears coach John Fox said this week, “and in this case, I think we have been rewarded.”

Fox said the Bears were aware of reports that the Giants coveted Floyd. But he also said he didn’t necessarily trust them.

“There is a lot of information out there,” he said. “Sometimes it can be misinformation. Sometimes it can be factual information. I just know that was a need that we had and we liked the player a lot and you try to maneuver in the draft to get the players that you want. He was a player that we wanted.”

The Giants wound up drafting cornerback Eli Apple with the 10th pick, and he has played well despite being benched for a series of missed tackles and assignments against the Eagles.

Floyd had calf and hamstring injuries in the offseason and early in his regular season, but he has shown why at least two teams wanted him. He has a team-high five sacks this season, 4.5 in the last three games.

“He’s really coming into his own,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. “He has a lot of nice length. They’re using him as an edge player and outside linebacker or defensive end. They do drop him into coverage a little bit but he’s getting his feet wet and he’s coming on for them.”

Whether or not the Bears did outmaneuver the Giants to get Floyd, they certainly are happy with the results.

“I see great potential and I think he is doing quite well,” Fox said of the 24-year-old Floyd. “Over the last month he has had a very productive run there in that stretch of time and he continues to get better, so I see a bright, bright future in Leonard Floyd.”


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