Leal announced via his Instagram Wednesday night that he would forgo next season and enter the NFL Draft. Prior to leaving, he thanks the school, Fisher, defensive coordinator Mike Elko and the 12th Man for a memorable three seasons in College Station.
"The last three years of my life at Texas A&M have been some of the best years of my life!" Leal wrote. "Becoming a part of a culture that is second to none has taught me the value of loyalty, honor, and pride."
NFL scouts view the versatility of Leal as one of the key factors that make him a surging prospect. This season, Elko was not afraid to shift his defense, allowing the 6-foot-4, 290-pound junior to make plays both as a defensive tackle and defensive end.
Production has been one of the biggest reasons for Leal's growth from 2019 until now. Each year, the stat line has blossomed, giving scouts a clear indication of what type of disruptive playmaker he could be against the run and as a pass-rusher.
This season. Leal finished with 58 tackles, most among SEC defensive linemen, with 12.5 for a loss and 8.5 sacks. He has started 29 games over the past three seasons, leading A&M in hurries in 2020.
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Some will question where Leal best fits in the NFL. Should teams that run more a traditional 4-3 base look go after his skills inside? What about a more 3-4 approach? Could the skills of his outside rush help him flourish as a 5-tech?
Could Leal be interchangeable and is he the top defensive lineman entering the 2022 draft class?
In partnership with AllAggies.com, Locked on Aggies is a daily podcast to provide insight into the world of Texas A&M sports. On today's show, host Cole Thompson breaks down Leal's strengths, weaknesses, and where he best fits at the next level among all 32 NFL rosters.
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