SC State’s Darius Leonard invited to NFL Combine
ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WOLO) — South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard received an invitation to participate in this year’s NFL Combine.
The two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year finished his career at SC State as the all-time leading tackler and is a projected 2nd-3rd round pick.
Long, angular frame that is hard to square up for blockers. Twitchy long-strider in open field with loose hips and rare pursuit speed. Excellent reactive athleticism. Uses quick, darting shuffle steps to elude second level blockers and mirror runners cutting from gap to gap. Played with desired discipline and gap integrity in holding 2016 MEAC Offensive Player of the year and current Chicago Bear, Tarik Cohen, to his worst performance. Pads stay square to the line. Posted high-impact production for four consecutive years. Patient tackler. Blazing closing speed and outstanding sideline-to-sideline range. Eyes process quickly. Piled on 19 tackles in loss to Clemson in 2016. Effective playing off of blocks and finding the ball carrier. Fluid in zone drops or when matching up in man coverage. Has six career interceptions.
After adding 50 pounds during his stay in college, his frame may be beginning to max out. Thin through arms and chest and lacks desired, NFL play strength. Has very little margin for error when taking on climbing offensive linemen. Doesn’t always take efficient routes around traffic in his pursuit. Play demeanor lacks aggression usually spotted at linebacker. Relies on athleticism to slip blocks on second level rather than racing downhill ahead of them. Willing hitter but needs to add more pop behind his pads. Can still improve instincts and pattern reading in man coverage.