Raheem Morris Leonard Floyd
Atlanta Falcons

Falcons Predicted to Add Georgia Native to Bolster Pass Rush

The Atlanta Falcons defense performed significantly better in 2023 than it had in years. But the unit could still use more help at edge rusher. On February 23, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin called on the Falcons bringing linebacker Leonard Floyd home to give the team a boost along the edge.

Floyd, who is from Atlanta and played at Georgia, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. With the Buffalo Bills in 2023, Floyd posted 10.5 sacks with 9 tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits.

“Perpetually in need of pass-rushing reinforcements, the Falcons reunite Floyd, an annually underrated sack artist, with old Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who’s now running the show in Atlanta,” wrote Benjamin.

Floyd only had one season with double-digit sacks prior to 2023. That was in 2020 when he played for the Los Angeles Rams.

But after a slow start to his career with the Chicago Bears, Floyd has posted at least 9 sacks in each of his past four seasons.

Floyd began to breakout with the Rams likely because he was playing on the same unit as Aaron Donald. That took a lot of pressure away from Floyd, who saw plenty of one-on-one blocking assignments in Los Angeles. Over three seasons with the Rams, Floyd posted 29 sacks in 50 games.

But in 2023, Floyd was Buffalo’s top edge rusher, and he still dominated. He led the team with 10.5 sacks and 19 quarterback hits.

As Scott Kennedy and Nick Kendell argued on February 26, Floyd is likely to be the top available edge rusher in NFL free agency. Defensive ends Josh Allen and Brian Burns are ranked higher on free agent lists, but each could receive the franchise tag before free agency begins.

If NFL teams consider Floyd one of the best edge rushers in free agency, he could be expensive. However, as an Atlanta native, perhaps Floyd signs with the Falcons for a slight discount.

Unless Floyd is outrageously expensive, though, his pass rushing upside could be well worth the cost. The Falcons haven’t finished better than 21st in sacks since 2017.