Ole Miss was close to scoring a touchdown. DeMarvin Leal was in the way.
On third-and-goal at the 2-yard line, Texas A&M needed a stop. Leal, one of the top defensive linemen in this year’s NFL Draft, flew past potential blockers, crashed toward the middle and slowed down running back Snoop Conner short of the goal line. The Aggies forced a turnover on downs on the following snap.
Leal has the capability of disrupting games in this fashion.
DeMarvin Leal Draft Odds
Leal has NFL Draft odds to be selected first overall at +30000.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has the leading NFL Draft betting odds to be picked first at -250 as of March 31.
|Name||Position||Team||1st Pick Odds (4/28)|
|Ikem Ekwonu||OL||NC State||+400|
|Charles Cross||OL||Mississippi State||+10000|
|Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner||CB||Cincinnati||+10000|
|Derek Stingley Jr.||CB||LSU||+15000|
|Kyle Hamilton||S||Notre Dame||+15000|
|Matt Corral||QB||Ole Miss||+15000|
|Sam Howell||QB||North Carolina||+20000|
|Garrett Wilson||WR||Ohio State||+20000|
|DeMarvin Leal||DT||Texas A&M||+30000|
|Chris Olave||WR||Ohio State||+50000|
DeMarvin Leal Draft Pick Projection
The New England Patriots might benefit from Leal’s versatility up front.
They probably don’t have to add him with the 21st pick, either. They could easily trade down, and a deal with the Chiefs would make sense. Kansas City may want to pick in front of the Packers at No. 22 for a receiver.
And the Patriots could easily add Leal to their defense with the 29th pick, feeling confident he wouldn’t be drafted before then.
Last season, the Patriots were 22nd in defensive adjusted line yards on the ground and 14th in adjusted sack rate, via Football Outsiders. The Patriots, however, were fourth in total DVOA.
Leal could help bolster those areas that need to be upgraded, giving New England an even greater advantage on that side of the ball.
DeMarvin Leal’s Stats
Leal’s production matches that of a first-round talent.
He was a first-team All-American and All-SEC selection as a junior in 2021. He was also a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the premier defensive end in college football.
In 12 games started in 2021, Leal tied for fifth in the conference with 8.5 sacks and ninth with 12.5 tackles for loss, leading the team in both those areas. He finished the season with 58 tackles.
The year before, he paced Texas A&M with eight hurries and was fifth in tackles with 37. He added seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He also defended four passes while intercepting one and adding a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
He played 13 games and started seven as a freshman after a five-star rating in high school. He amassed 38 tackles, five hurries, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
DeMarvin Leal Draft Profile
Leal is incredibly explosive, and that was shown during the NFL Combine.
Leal, at 6-foot-4, 283 pounds, tied for sixth among defensive tackles at the NFL Combine by running the 40-yard dash in five seconds and was second with a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.49 seconds. He also had a vertical jump of 27.5 inches and a broad jump of 8 feet, 10 inches.
This translates to his dazzling pass rush. He’s shown a standout bend around the edge.
He’s also relentless. If he doesn’t win on his first move, Leal will often try a second or third until he’s past the blocker before him. He’s also creative and can win going to either side of a lineman.
Against Ole Miss, the Aggies lined up on a second-and-10 on their own 26. With left tackle Nick Broeker in front of him, Leal used a sort-of euro step but then accelerated in hopes of keeping the offensive lineman off balance.
Then Leal pushed Broeker to the ground on the edge of the pocket, keeping his helmet faced toward the middle of the field. This gave him a direct lane to quarterback Matt Corral. Leal took advantage with a strip-sack.
Quick and fluid spin here by DeMarvin Leal!!
— Damian Parson (@DP_NFL) October 17, 2020
Leal is inconsistent with his hands. On one snap, he may have the first punch and be in control of an offensive lineman. The next, he may give that advantage to his opponent and lose that control.
That’s especially problematic in the run game, which would only be exacerbated if he ends up at defensive tackle. He can go from discarding blockers and laying big hits on ball carriers to being stood up and cleared out of the way, leading to substantial gains.
But if Leal’s strengths can be channeled in the right situation, he will benefit a team.
In a game against Mississippi State, Leal shuffled his feet to force the opposing tackle to guess which way he’ll go. Leal pushed the tackle’s hands away and spun inside. He tracked the quarterback down within three seconds.
The Patriots would be an ideal landing spot so Leal can shine like he’s capable of.