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2018 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Darius Leonard, South Carolina State

Reese's Senior Bowl Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Darius Leonard - Outside Linebacker South Carolina State - Redshirt Senior 6’2’’, 220 Pounds

Darius Leonard was a walk-on athlete at Clemson, and when Clemson wouldn’t offer him a scholarship, he shipped out to SCSU. Darius Leonard also seems to possess some solid tools that makes him possibly a steal.

Strengths: Stout against the run game, seems to play with some tenacity when rushers are going head first. Played in a 4-3 defensive end at SC State, but seems to have the body to play inside or outside linebacker. Flows to the ball instinctively, and plays with a low center of gravity. No one is going to run past him, and he’s not a pushover when being challenged in a hole. Fast hands when engaged in a block. His speed rush is a dream move. He can turn the corner on almost any offensive lineman, seen against Senior Bowl competition really taking advantage of a slower lineman. Really great at big hits, as he’s always looking for contact.

Weaknesses: His size dictates he’s probably going to be a 4-3 outside linebacker or 3-4 inside linebacker. Needs to focus on pass coverage, not exactly his strong suit. Leonard also struggles at taking the wrong angle. Easily out of position against bulkier guards.

Cardinals Summary: This is a guy worth investing on if you are transferring from a 3-4 to a 4-3, but realistically, we don’t need another inside linebacker. He’s so athletic that I would not be surprised if the Cardinals brought him in. I love his ability to make big hits, and the ability to chase and tackle.

Projected: Round 2

Stats: 114 total tackles, 12 TFL’s, 8.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 pass breakup, 1 FF

Pro Comparison: Kiko Alonso - Miami Dolphins