Leonard has the size, strength and quickness to be an excellent cornerback for the team that drafts him. Right now, he is an excellent zone cover corner because of his football intelligence. He shows leadership skills through his play on the field and will communicate with his teammates and help direct the secondary before the snap . Leonard has solid single coverage skills and compensates for any weakness with playing the correct angles, understanding situational football and communicating to his teammates. Leonard does not have great speed, but he has excellent quickness and shows the ability to bait a QB into throwing interceptions because he can lay off a receiver and then break on the ball quickly. In the red zone, this kid will be tough to beat. He is strong, will go up and fight for the ball and will anticipate the next play easily.
Leonard is not very good at tackling and supporting the run. He had a neck injury and after that, he has been a little shy to engage on sweeps and runs to his side. He needs to learn the correct techniques to protect himself and gain his confidence back in order to improve. Leonard had a bad habit of dropping his head and throwing himself into the ball carrier. When he tackled a receiver, he took them up too high and was sloppy. He needs to gain hand strength and tackling form to become an impact player. He will also need to learn much better bump techniques so that he doesn't get beat off the line of scrimmage deep. He has to become more physical in his all around game. I suggest Leonard go work on a farm for the summer bailing hay and throwing the bail 10 feet up in the air on to a truck. It's an art to learn and it will build up his lower body, upper body and hands. At least it did for me.
Leonard just needs more than 20 hrs of coaching to improve. He must become a better tackler -- that will be the key to him becoming an impact corner in the NFL. He can do it because he looks like he has the work ethic. Right now Leonard is a solid cornerback coming into the league with the potential to be an impact corner back. It will be all up to him. I think his injury might have been the best thing for him. It will force him to learn to use the CORRECT tackling techniques and make him work on strengthening his hands. Improving his hand strength will also improve his ability to intercept the ball which will set him apart from the rest of the corners in the NFL.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Feb /12