Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Like every NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings had a list of prospective rookies that stretched miles beyond the 10 draft picks they used in May.
NFL rosters are not only fortified by players who slip through the cracks of the draft, but it's no longer even unusual for players to become stars in the league after not getting drafted.
Kurt Warner, Wes Welker, Tony Romo and Gates are just a few of the many players who didn't hear their names called at the draft but went on to find a place among the best players in the league.
Vontaze Burfict, the Cincinnati Bengals star linebacker, led the league in tackles in 2013 in just his second year after not being drafted in 2012. Everyone knew who Burfict was before the draft. He was projected to be a first-round pick heading toward his senior season at Arizona State.
Burfict had a disappointing senior season that was dotted with run-ins with coaches and a suspension that left him out of the Sun Devils' bowl game that year. He followed that up with a bizarre combine where he left talent evaluators thinking he was immature and perhaps too much of a problem child to be worth a draft pick.
We talk about Burfict here because everyone in the NFL knew about Leonard before the 2014 draft. He was a Scout.com 4-star recruit out of high school and signed on to be another in a long line of stars at tight end for the Florida Gators.
Leonard transferred out of Florida after his freshman season that saw him arrested that January. He moved on to Tennessee State, where he had 85 receptions for 1,174 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons.
Leonard showed off superior athletic ability at the combine, running a the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, with a scorching 1.5-second split in the first 10 yards, per NFL.com. His coach at Tennessee State, Rod Reed, called him a "model citizen" during his time there, according to Ross Jones of Fox Sports.
What we know about Leonard at this point is that he's a one-dimensional player, but that dimension is a pretty good one: He's a blazing-fast tight end prospect with excellent hands and a great ability to run after the catch.
It's certainly not outlandish to think that Leonard has a much higher ceiling than all of the tight ends on the Vikings roster not named Rudolph. What Leonard will have to prove, however, is that he can contribute enough as a blocker to land a spot on an NFL roster.
The truth is that Leonard might just be the best athlete among the Vikings tight ends. He can run, and he can catch. You'd certainly think the Vikings had vetted him enough to feel like his temper problems are under control.
Leonard looks to be the low-risk, high-potential player who could develop into an undrafted steal. One training camp might not be enough time to land him a roster spot, but Leonard seems like the perfect candidate to spend a season on the practice squad.