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Did Bears jump Giants knowing they would draft Leonard Floyd?

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In the days leading to the 2016 NFL Draft it became apparent that University of Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd was a top target of the New York Giants.

The Giants had the 10th overall selection in the first round. It appeared as if Floyd had a strong chance of being available when they picked.

Except if there is one certainty about the NFL draft, it is that it is always unpredictable.

Floyd was still available when the ninth overall pick was on the clock. That’s when the Chicago Bears, this week’s Giants opponent at MetLife Stadium, traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bears took Floyd with the ninth selection.

“You do [trade up] when you see something you like,” coach John Fox said during a conference call with Giants reporters on Wednesday. “In this case, I think we’ve been rewarded.”

The Giants had two players they thought could realistically be their choice at No. 10. They were Floyd and Michigan State offensive lineman Jack Conklin. The Tennessee Titans traded into the eighth slot and selected Conklin with Laremy Tunsil tumbling in large part because of a video that surfaced the day of the draft with him taking bong hits in a gas mask.

It has generally been assumed the Bears then traded up from No. 11 to No. 9 in part because of the Giants’ affinity for Floyd. The move cost Chicago a fourth-round pick.

“I had a thought this might come up,” Fox said. “You have no idea really what is going to happen in the draft. You really don’t. There is a lot of, I don’t know, information out there. Sometimes it can be misinformation, sometimes it can be factual information.

“I just know it was a need that we had. We liked the player a lot and you try to maneuver in the draft to get the players you want and he was a guy we wanted.

Floyd, 24, struggled with injuries after the draft. He had calf and hamstring problems that limited him this summer and slowed him early this season.

But the rookie has come on of late. He has 4.5 sacks in his past three games and a team-leading five this season for the Bears.

Safety Landon Collins and defensive end Olivier Vernon are tied for the Giants team lead with three sacks.

The Bears seem to think they have something special with Floyd, who played 57 of 75 defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Bucs. He had five tackles, a sack and two quarterback hits in that contest.

“I see great potential and he’s doing quite well," Fox said. "Earlier in the season he had nagging injuries. He had a calf strain, a hamstring strain, kind of slowing him down a bit. But here of late over the last month I think he’s had a very productive run in that stretch of time. He continues to get better. I see a bright, bright future for Leonard Floyd.”

In a Bears, not Giants, uniform.