Round 4 Pick 118: Darius Leonard – LB – South Carolina State
The Dallas Cowboys discovered that without Sean Lee on the field, their defense falls apart. Part of that is a testament to Lee’s brilliance and part of it is an indictment on their depth. While the situation could organically improve with the development of Jaylon Smith, the uncertain free agent status of Anthony Hitchens has the potential to do the opposite.
Darius Leonard is a quick and agile linebacker who fits at both WILL and MIKE. At South Carolina State he absolutely dominated the competition. Teams schemed to avoid him and/or neutralize him, yet he continued to make plays.
At 6’3” 235lbs, Leonard is perfectly built for an NFL linebacker. A natural playmaker, he collected 113 tackles eight tackles for loss, eight sacks, and two interceptions. Being a small school prospect, he has the ability to rise and fall dramatically depending on how he does at the combine.
Watching him on film it’s hard to imagine he’ll do poorly in any timed drill. He flies to the ball and looks natural in coverage. He appears to be the complete package and the perfect do-it-all replacement to Anthony Hitchens should he depart.
Leonard may not be a Day 1 starter but he has the ability to develop into one and possibly even stand out. I see Anthony Hitchens 2.0 here.