Ht – 6’3” Wt – 283 lb Class – JR Age – 21
2021 Stats – 58 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 8.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 2 PD (11 Games Played)
Career Stats – 133 tackles, 25 TFL, 13 Sacks, 2 FF, 5 PD (33 Games Played)
Power – Leal has great bulk in his lower half, but for some reason, he can’t turn that into functional power. I don’t think he lacks it completely, and with his weight distribution I’m sure he can unlock his true force, but he didn’t display it nearly enough.
Pass-Rush Moves – Doesn’t really do much. He has quick hand counters, but he didn’t use them often, and he wasn’t very successful when he did. He got shut down consistently against better blockers. Leal understands leverage well, but he didn’t use it to his advantage.
Quickness & Agility – This is his calling card. Leal is a freak athlete for an interior defensive lineman. He explodes off the snap and has extremely quick feet. He can twist and turn his body to blow up gaps, and he has solid bend around the edge. His athletic profile is much more fit for an edge rusher, but he lacks the moves for that position, and he would lose his athletic edge.
Technique – Leal isn’t much of a technician. He often tries to win with force, but he isn’t powerful enough to consistently drive through offensive linemen. Hardly ever attacking with a plan, his game needs a lot of refinement.
Play Recognition – Football IQ is fantastic. He is clearly a natural football player, and he always positions himself in the right place. While he wasn’t dominant as a pass rusher, he has high sack numbers for an interior lineman, and this is due to his positioning. Although he wouldn’t blow past blockers or deconstruct blocks properly, he would always stack his blocks to the correct spot, leading to a lot of late sacks and TFLs.
Run Support – Very disciplined in his run approach. Leal understands the game well, and he consistently makes sure to get himself in the right position. He always fills his gap perfectly, and his ability to blow up holes and burst through a gap to make a play in short-yardage situations is surprisingly great for his size.
Tackling and Pursuit – Great tackler. His size and agility combo make it easier for him to tackle, and he wraps up with precision. Additionally, his closing speed is truly elite.
Motor – High energy player, Leal takes no plays off. He is a better athlete than most interior D-Lineman, so his higher stamina isn’t surprising, and he takes full advantage of it.
Combine – Leal had a very underwhelming Combine. As a “tweener”, he is expected to have great athleticism. Being undersized and unathletic is a real death knell in the NFL. Luckily for him, his 4.49 Shuttle, so his athletic traits aren’t truly in question, but his 5.00 40 and his Jumps were very unimpressive.
DeMarvin Leal is a peculiar prospect. He is a former five-star recruit who up until recently was still highly regarded as an early NFL Draft pick. Unfortunately for him, his positional fit is a mystery. Many great talented players have failed in the NFL due to a lack of position.
He is much too small to play on the interior, and although he has good lower body strength, his functional power didn’t show up on tape, and it’s very questionable if he could hold up on the interior.
On the other hand, he played as a phenomenal athlete for the interior. Kicking out to the edge would eliminate his athletic edge, and even push him below the curve in athleticism for the position. He has great long speed, quickness, and bend for an interior lineman, but again, on the edge, he’d be just average.
After his unimpressive Combine, hanging your hat on his athleticism doesn’t seem as safe.
There are multiple ways to succeed as an interior D-Lineman in the NFL. You can either be a masterful technician, with pass rush moves and hand counters galore. Or, you can be a physical freak whose power at the point of attack is difference-making. Leal is neither.
Combine that with his questionable scheme fits, and that’s your reason for his stock plummet.
To his credit, he seems like a prototypical 3-4 Defensive End. Defenses with a hole at that specific position and no need for him to move around could maximize his abilities.
See DeMarvin Leal’s overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.