Leonard has good size and speed to play his position. He is a long legged wide receiver, but in spite of that, does seem to have solid quickness in and out of his breaks. He shows nice hands for college. Leonard runs good routes against zone coverage and when his opponent is playing off him giving him room off the line of scrimmage. Leonard has the physical talent and potential to be a #1 wide receiver for the team that drafts him, but it takes more than talent to play in the NFL.
My big concern of Leonard is that he struggles in man-to-man coverage catching the ball consistently. He is bothered and loses concentration when his opponent plays him tight. He lets the ball get into his body and peeks too much. This can be corrected as Leonard is not peeking because he doesn't want to get hit. He is peeking because he's trying to understand where his opponent is and where he is on the field. Leonard also shies away from taking responsibility if he screws up. On the sideline after a mistake or dropped pass in a crucial time of a game, Leonard goes over to the sideline and hides.
The physical talent is there to be a #1 wide receiver. The maturity in understanding what is expected of a #1 wide receiver is not there yet. If Leonard has a good work ethic, he can become the player his talents suggest that he can become. However, the team drafting Leonard should not draft him too high and expect this kid to walk on the field and produce as a #1 wide receiver right away. If the team that drafts him goes slow and allows him to mature on the field, then he just might make it. If not, Leonard will be just a good zone wide receiver that flashes, but can't be depended on in crucial situations and against teams that use tough man-to-man defenses. There are a lot of wide receivers in this draft who have better abilities against man-to-man defense. I think drafting Leonard and making him your third or fourth receiver in the slot would be a smart move and I suspect he would impact if he is used that way. In the slot, he will be up against safeties and LB's who will play off him and mostly in zone coverage. His size should be a big advantage and his zone route running abilities should flourish. Just note that I believe drafting him with the expectations that he will be your #1 wide receiver might be a big mistake.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Mar/11