TE A.C. LEONARD, TENNESSEE ST.*

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6’4” – 245 lbs. – 4.75e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2011: 8 – 99 – 0 (12.4) (Florida)
2012: 51 – 733 – 6 (14.4)
2013: 34 – 441 – 5 (13.0)

OVERVIEW:

Was a highly-regarded recruit who originally committed to Florida but transferred to Tennessee St. after one season in which he played in nine games; transfer was following an arrest for battery following an incident with his girlfriend. With the Tigers, started eight of ten games played in 2012, being named to the all-conference first team, then earned second-team recognition in 2013.

POSITIVES:

•    Possesses an adequate combination of height and bulk for a pro “flex” tight end.
•    Lined up as an inline tight end frequently; at least has some prior experience there.
•    Also worked out of the slot in some formations, athletic enough to do that in the pros.
•    Fast enough to separate down the seam, tracks the ball well over shoulder deep.
•    Reliable hands, can pluck the ball out of the air rather than trapping it against body.
•    Offers the ability to gain some yards after the catch due to athleticism, decent power.
•    Not a great blocker but gives solid effort, athleticism helps him reach second level.
•    Blocking not limited to the run game, also retained fairly often in pass protection.
•    Upside is intriguing; forfeited senior eligibility, originally attended University of Florida.

NEGATIVES:

•    Arrest for battery, subsequent transfer from Florida raise major character concerns.
•    Will be facing a major increase in level of competition after playing at Tennessee St.
•    Probably not someone who will reprise inline responsibilities very often in the NFL.
•    Awareness versus zone coverage is lacking, runs into coverage rather than settling.
•    Doesn’t always give his best effort, can get lazy both as a blocker and running routes.
•    Lack of bulk and strength make him more of a wall-off blocker at best, poor anchor.
•    Can occasionally completely whiff on a block, especially against outside speed moves.

SUMMARY:

Leonard probably made the right decision in declaring for the draft this season given the relative lack of quality prospects. His arrest for domestic battery and subsequent transfer from Florida will create some major character questions, but a team may be willing to overlook those issues late in the draft given his combination of height, athleticism, hands, and run-after-catch ability. He split his time between working as an inline option and lining up in the slot at Tennessee St., with the later representing a more realistic projection as a pro; he has also demonstrated the ability to work as more of an H-Back at times. At best, he is an erratic blocker whose lack of bulk and strength make him an underwhelming option in that role.

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