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Raiders Summer Scouting: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

Scouting report and film clips of top prospect

NCAA Football: Texas-San Antonio at Texas A&M
DeMarvin Leal
John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarvin Leal is an interesting NFL Draft prospect because he projects better as an interior defensive lineman but has primarily played on the edge in college. That versatility should pique the Las Vegas Raiders’ interest since they will likely be in the defensive lineman market this offseason.

DL | Texas A&M | 6’4” 290 lbs | San Antonio, TX | July 1, 2000 (21.1)

Overview:

DeMarvin Leal came to Texas A&M as a five-star recruit and the number 16 player overall in the 2019 class. About halfway through his true freshman season, Leal earned a starting spot and has racked up 75 total tackles – 12.5 for loss – and four and a half sacks, primarily playing as a defensive end in the Aggies’ defense that used a lot of even fronts. The San Antonio native has the strength to hold up against one-on-one blocks as a run defender and win with a very impressive push/pull move in pass rush, but he needs to become faster off the ball and nimbler.

Strengths:

  • He’s quick to recognize cut blocks and uses his hands to defeat them, running almost unimpeded to the quarterback or ball carrier
  • In pass rush, his push/pull move is extremely effective as he gets on an edge to clear his hips and has the strength to put bigger offensive linemen on the ground
  • Has a solid inside spin move with decent quickness and hand swipe to get offensive linemen off balance
  • His inside stick move can be developed with the footwork and use of hands he displays
  • If he can’t get to the quarterback as a rusher, he gets his hands up to bat passes at the line of scrimmage, and he’s shown the alertness to get an interception on tipped passes
  • Good block recognition to overcome some of his issues taking on blocks
  • Precise timing with his hands to typically makes contact with the offensive linemen first when taking on blocks
  • He has the strength and hand placement to get extension and hold his ground against one-on-one blocks from offensive tackles
  • Has a nice swim move to defeat blocks quickly and play in the offense’s backfield
  • When unblocked as the spill player against gap runs, he’s effective at getting under pullers and wrong arming
  • Displays great gap integrity with an impressive feel/quick reaction to the running back committing before leaving his assignment
  • Violent and strong with his hands when getting off blocks, similar to his push/pull move
  • He has no problems making tackles in his gap and can bring ball carriers down with linemen hanging on him
  • Good effort and deep angles in pursuit on outside plays to his side to factor into gang tackles
Texas A&M and Georgia Bulldogs
DeMarvin Leal
Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Areas for improvement:

  • Typically, late to react to the snap; is slow with and takes too long of a first step, throwing off his base
  • Can’t win with speed around the corner given his pedestrian get off and bend issues – severely lacks the ankle and hip flexibility to take an efficient path to the quarterback as a rusher
  • When bull-rushing, he stops his legs on contact and can only push the pocket against smaller offensive linemen
  • Doesn’t do a good enough job selling the inside on his outside stick move to make it effective and drops his hands so offensive linemen can get to his chest
  • When working finesse moves, he has poor accuracy with his initial chops as he’ll miss completely or fail to get a joint to clear the blocker’s hands off him
  • Against the run, he stands up out of his stance, and the base issues that stem from his get off give him little to no chance against double teams
  • He’s very reliant on his upper body strength to take on blocks as he stops his feet on contact, which could lead to issues at the next level
  • With his late get off and poor agility, he struggles to hold down the edge against reach and scoop blocks

Injuries:

None

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 29 Texas State at Texas A&M
DeMarvin Leal
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Projection:

Leal primarily played on the edge in college but projects better as a five- to three-tech in the NFL. That versatility should help boost his draft stock as he projects as a late first- to early-second-round pick. The Aggie would be best for a team that’s looking for a one-gap, run-stuffing interior defensive linemen.

What to Watch for in 2021:

Can he get more reps and excel on the inside? Leal primarily played as a defensive end in 2020, but his size and lack of bend will likely push him to more of a defensive tackle role at the next level. Given his lack of experience as an interior defender, it will be beneficial for the big man to prove he can also win in that role.

Fit with the Raiders:

The Raiders currently have eight defensive tackles on their training camp roster and seven of them will be playing on the last year of their contract. The only player with multiple years left on his deal is undrafted free agent Darius Stills, so it’s safe to say interior defenders will be one of the team’s biggest needs in the offseason.

As for Leal’s fit with Las Vegas schematically, he would be a great fit as a defensive tackle in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s system. The Texas A&M product could easily be the Silver and Blacks’ first pick of the draft, depending on how the board falls.

Clips:

I don’t think you can find a play that does a better job of showing off Leal’s strength than the clip above. He’s lined up as a standup outside backer and is facing off against Stone Forsythe, who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks a few months ago.

Leal recognizes that Forsythe is trying to reach him, moves his feet and gets his hands on the tackle’s chest to secure the edge. Once the running back commits to the B-gap, the Aggie has the strength – and because his hands are in the right spot – to shed this block with ease and throw Forsythe to the ground.

The ball carrier tries to bounce it at the last second but since Leal had great gap discipline, it’s too late and he’s able to make a tackle for loss.

This stunt by Leal is just a work of art. He sets up the E/T game perfectly by working up the field initially and has perfect timing with his hands as he literally catches the offensive lineman’s. Once that tackle opens his hips to the sideline, the pass rusher starts to work inside with a strong rip move to give himself a clear path to go get a hit on the quarterback. A perfectly executed line game.

In the clip above, we’re going to get another excellent example of how the Texas A&M product can get off blocks. He’s two-gapping here, which means he’s responsible for both the B- and C-gaps and explains the lateral first-step and slow get off. Like the play above, his hand placement is perfect and allows him to control the offensive lineman.

The tackle is able to get inside of Leal a little bit, but Leal’s strength allows him to shuck the tackle and effectively close the B-gap with the man. Finally, the defender breaks down after defeating the block and because No. 5 does his job too, there’s nowhere to run and this is another tackle for loss.

How about one more example of Leal’s block shedding, just because I love it so much. It really is a thing of beauty.

Evan Neal, No. 73 for Alabama, is projected to be one of the best offensive tackles in this year’s draft class and is 6’7” 360 pounds, but Leal makes him look like a rag doll on this play. The defensive lineman’s hand placement isn’t quite as precise as we’ve seen in the other examples, notice his right hand is outside of the tackle’s shoulder, but it doesn’t matter since Leal has the strength to toss Neal and go factor into the play.

This final clip won’t show up on the stat sheet but is something the Aggie can build on moving forward.

Initially, he’s going to set up and work an inside stick move but the tackle does a pretty good job of picking it up. Once Leal recognizes that his initial move isn’t working and he’s about to get washed inside, he sticks his feet in the ground and pivots to a spin move. Neal wasn’t expecting that counter and ends up being the one who gets washed down into the mess, leaving Leal to rush freely and force the quarterback to get rid of the ball.