Leon O'Neal Jr. NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Texas A&M Safety
HEIGHT: 6'0 1/2"
HAND: 10 1/4"
ARM: 31 5/8"
WINGSPAN: 6'4 5/8"
40-YARD DASH: DNP
— High-motor player who flies around the field. Shows great effort in both the run and pass game.
— Physical player who throws his body around. Strong tackler who limits extra yards when able to wrap up.
— Able to play at multiple levels. Can play center field as well as underneath coverage. Does his best when able to play the quarterback's eyes.
— Quick run reads. Able to read and react, filling running lanes.
— Shows some flexibility issues when moving laterally. Tightness causes him to round breaks and turns.
— Limited top-end speed. Receivers can easily run by when he's out of position at times, and he lacks recovery speed to make up.
— Open-field tackling is inconsistent. Doesn't always look to secure tackles.
12 G, 58 TOT, 3 TFL, 1 SK, 2 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FR
— Three-year starter for the Aggie defense.
Leon O'Neal Jr. is a talented safety with 48 games of experience under his belt. A safety who's on the bigger side, he has good movement skills and the ability to play at all three levels.
O'Neal does his best work playing the run. He's a high-motor athlete who does a great job tracking the ball-carrier and arriving with bad intentions. He also has the strength and quickness to sift through trash and defeat blocks.
Since O'Neal often looks for the big hit, he tends to duck his head or come into the tackle a bit out of control. He has also shown hip tightness and below-average lateral movement skills, which also contributes to his considerable number of missed tackles.
When playing in coverage, O'Neal flashes in both man and zone coverage. He does best when he's able to play the quarterback's eyes and break up to the routes in front of him. That allows him to get away with a somewhat rigid backpedal and above-average breaking ability.
As a deep post defender, O'Neal lacks the desired top-end and recovery speed, so he must play with enough cushion in coverage. When out of position, he can be left behind on crossing routes and even allow receivers behind him downfield. When playing the ball, he has the ball skills necessary to locate and track the ball and the timing to play through the reception point.
O'Neal is a physical playmaker who needs to continue to clean up his tackling and his man-coverage skills. Right now, he projects as a backup player who can work his way into a starting role down the line.
GRADE: 5.9 (Backup/Draftable - 6th-7th Round)
OVERALL RANK: 247
POSITION RANK: S17
PRO COMPARISON: James Ihedigbo
Written by B/R NFL Scout Cory Giddings