BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) Leonard Floyd figures he will take a moment to scan the stadium, soak it all in. Then it will be time to show what he can do.
The Chicago Bears are counting on big things from the outside linebacker after drafting him with the ninth overall pick. That starts with the preseason opener against the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
''I try to do a circle and look at all the fans and stuff,'' Floyd said. ''And I get locked in on focusing on the game.''
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It will be a big moment for Floyd and the Bears. Chicago drafted the Georgia standout with the idea that his speed and athleticism would help jolt a defense that lacked playmakers a year ago.
Not only will the Bears be getting their first look at Floyd, they will also be seeing receiver Kevin White in a game situation for the first time.
The No. 7 pick in the 2015 draft, he was sidelined last season by a fractured shin. Instead of forming a fierce tandem with Alshon Jeffery, White was a spectator.
The Bears, meanwhile, are trying to pick themselves up after going 6-10 and finishing last in the NFC North. With just 11 wins over the past two years, they come into their second season under general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox looking for much more.
The development of Floyd and White could go a long way toward determining if they get it.
''It's all about that `exam,''' Fox said. ''Those exams are those preseason games and I can't think of a better test than the defending world champs Thursday night.''
The Bears are trying to build a strong young core under Pace and Fox after years of shaky drafting under former GMs Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery. It sure would help if White and Floyd thrived, and there are big expectations for both players.
The 6-foot-4 Floyd is a key addition to a defense that made big strides last season under coordinator Vic Fangio yet still had some huge deficiencies. Chicago rose from 30th to 14th in the rankings but tied for 22nd in sacks and was just 30th in interceptions.
The Bears addressed that by overhauling their front seven, adding 336-pound free agent defensive end Akiem Hicks and backing him with inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. With his speed and athleticism, Floyd brings a skillset that management believes will produce bigger numbers in the NFL than in college. Floyd had 4 1/2 sacks for Georgia last season, but he won't be dropping back in coverage the way he did in college.
He will also be playing on both sides of the field and occasionally move inside, which could give him an edge over slower guards.
''It gives me an opportunity to make plays from different areas on the field,'' Floyd said. ''Pretty much all outside linebackers have the opportunity to play left, right and sometimes in the middle.''
The past two weeks have been eye opening for Floyd.
He's been soaking up as much as he can from the coaches as well as veterans such as Willie Young, Sam Acho and Pernell McPhee, trying to improve on his weaknesses. He's trying to stay patient and focus on the big picture. But he also understands the pressure to make a quick impact.
''I've got the highest expectations on myself,'' he said. ''I put the most on myself.''
NOTES: Jeffery said ''no decision has been made'' about whether he will play on Thursday. The receiver practiced on a limited basis Monday and Tuesday after suffering a mild hamstring strain last week. Fox and quarterback Jay Cutler have said they hope Jeffery plays in the preseason, particularly after sat out the 2015 preseason and went on to miss seven games last season because of a variety of injuries.
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