Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's My Turn: The Malcom Floyd Story

Malcom Floyd is the first half Samoan, half African-American wide receiver in the NFL. At 6'5", 225 pounds, he also measures in as the biggest target any quarterback has to throw at.

Floyd has spent his entire career playing in the shadows of others. He was very unfortunate to have joined the Chargers in 2004 as an undrafted free agent.

The Chargers were in the prime years of LaDainian Tomlinson's career. Marty Schottenheimer was a very run-oriented coach. Besides, the receivers were pretty well established. Not exactly the prime spot for an undrafted receiver to show up.

Floyd was waived without much chance of proving himself. He spent much of his time on the practice squad, making an annual $115,640.
Things didn't get much better for him in 2005 or 2006. In 2007 he earned a roster spot and still earned just $516,000 on the year.

Common ground

From 2002 to 2004, when Vincent Jackson was breaking records and earning awards as a receiver in Northern Colorado, Floyd was doing the exact same thing just 100 miles up the road at Wyoming.

The difference in the two: Vincent Jackson was the receiving corps for Northern Colorado, and Malcom Floyd was greatly overshadowed by fellow receiver Ryan McGuffey.

Always the bridesmaid

This is nothing new for Floyd. He wasn't even considered the best athlete in his own home. His brother (also named Malcolm) was heavily sought after for his football abilities. He played pro for the Houston Oilers from 1994-1997.

The younger Floyd actually put football on the shelf. Basketball was his game. Floyd also wanted to become a doctor and earned a degree in health sciences. In the offseason, Floyd can be found at Mission Beach boogie boarding.

Last season, Floyd finally earned the starting job as a receiver with the departure of Chris Chambers. He again took a big back seat in light of Jackson's Pro Bowl season but proved himself more than adequate.

Understanding the differences

Before you get too involved in looking at the stat sheets and comparing Floyd to Jackson, please understand the difference between a No. 1 and No. 2 wide receiver.

A No. 1 runs the lead route. He is the quarterback's first option. He is the first look. He will be thrown to twice as much as the No. 2 receiver.

In his debut at the No. 1 spot last season in Week 17, Floyd caught nine passes for 140 yards. That is spectacular. At a whole season that would be tops in the NFL at the lead spot and convert into 144 receptions for 2,440 yards.

If his debut tells us anything, it is yes, he can be the man! He is known by Chargers players as M-80 because of his explosiveness and ability to make the big plays.

2010 Prediction

With Philip Rivers passing the ball, Ryan Mathews keeping the secondary honest, Darren Sproles' explosiveness, and Legedu Naanee in the slot, the Chargers will set up the greatest trio of undrafted pass catchers ever assembled.

Malcom Floyd: Undrafted free agent—sixth season from Wyoming.

Seyi Ajirotutu: Rookie undrafted free agent from Fresno State. 6'4", 225-pound raw powerhouse fits the Chargers' receiving corps like a glove.

Antonio Gates: Eighth season undrafted free agent from Kent State. Top-five tight end in NFL history.

Malcom Floyd is the top receiver for the San Diego Chargers. He is now "finally" out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

He will be the high flyer in a balanced and explosive offense with a passing-oriented coach an elite quarterback, and an offensive arsenal full of weapons. Can he fill Jackson's shoes? Absolutely!

Floyd recently signed a tender for $3.168 million and is on the eve of taking the NFL by storm. Congratulations, Malcom Floyd—it's your turn!

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