Leon McFadden   CB   San Diego St

TALENT BOARD ROUND  2

 

STRENGTHS

Leon is a very technically sound cornerback.  He has a lot of athletic talent and looks on film to have that quick twitch you look for when evaluating a player for the next level.  He exhibits strong leadership skills through his play on the field and is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler. Leon is an excellent zone coverage cornerback and, in single coverage, he might be one of the smartest in this draft.  He understands how to read receivers and is patient in coverage waiting for receivers to reach for the ball until he makes his move.  He does not peek into the backfield in man-to-man coverage, which allows him to stay right on the hip of the receiver when in coverage.  He understands zone coverages as well as down and distance.  Teams that flood his zone on third downs with multiple receivers do not confuse him because he is excellent at prioritizing which receiver is the priority and which is not.  He has an excellent burst to the ball and comes up very quickly to support the run. Leon is a complete cornerback and one that will help your defensive backfield the day after you draft him; however, his impact position for the next level might be more as a free safety than a cornerback.  

 

CONCERNS

Although Leon has good height, his lack of bulk and weight is an issue for the next level and his body type doesn’t look like he can add more bulk in his lower body without it affecting his quickness and speed.  He can be thrown around at the college level by bigger receivers when they run routes which will be a big problem for him at the next level.  Also, while the quality of the receivers he has played against might be a question mark, he did go to the Senior Bowl and open a lot of teams’ eyes to his ability.  Leon is an excellent football player and looks on film to be a good teammate.

  

BOTTOM LINE

A few years ago, Leon would have fit the model in size and skill to be a #1 or #2 cornerback.  Now, in spite of the fact that Leon may be tall and has pretty good length, he lacks the bulk, weight and stoutness that he will need to be a starting corner in the NFL for a 16-game schedule.  Nevertheless, Leon is a quality football player and can start for you.  I would expect though, that he might struggle in the playoff games because the NFL allows more physical play in those games and Leon’s lack of stoutness against bigger receivers will come more into play. That doesn’t mean you don’t draft him.  It does mean that you may want to consider moving him to the free safety position.  He has the hands to intercept the ball and the ability to cover if you need him to, but I bet he would be a hell of a ball hawk as a free safety.  Leon’s football intelligence and ability to make a sure tackle in the open field will drive quarterbacks and offensive coordinators crazy, shutting down the vertical passing game.  That is the real job of a free safety -- to make the sure tackle and shut down the vertical passing game…and that’s just what Leon can do.  He can impact like Jarius Byrd does for the Buffalo Bills.  In fact, he reminds me a lot of Jarius in his size and in his play.  If teams agree with me about moving Leon to the free safety position, Leon could be drafted in just about any round after the 1st.  Look at Rob’s board and keep track of Leon because I think he has the potential to be a good cornerback and an even better free safety.  He’s definitely what I would call a “value pick”.    

  

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Apr/2013