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Through The Scout's Eye: Darius Leonard

Posted May 8, 2018

Indianapolis Colts area scout Jamie Moore provides an exclusive look into what he saw when he evaluated linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts' second-round (36th-overall) pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

INDIANAPOLIS — Jamie Moore, an area scout for the Indianapolis Colts who focuses on the Southeast Region, talked to reporters following the 2018 NFL Draft about what he saw in linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts' second-round (36th-overall) pick this year:

What did you see in Darius Leonard?

“Darius Leonard, first thing I guess that would stand out is (his) unique physical qualities. Long arms — 34-plus — 10-plus hands, 4.60 40, 10-8 broad, 38 vertical. Fell in love with the athlete, saw it on tape on junior film. Kind of how this process goes, you know, really right now we’re at the back end of the process; in this next month we’ll be in the front end of the process. And that’s where it really all starts, summer tape, and watched more of it last summer, last May, fell in love with the athlete, and then you pile out your fall schedule and he’s a guy that I put on the radar that I’ve got to look at, but you want to do more work on.”

How do you translate a small college player into a professional prospect?

“I would say definitely they’ve gotta pop on tape. You know, you’ve gotta see something unique about them. And they’ve got to have kind of a special level of competitiveness. Like, those guys are easy, actually. You know, I think people are always like, ‘Well, this guy’s gotta be difficult because you’re projecting small school, this and that.’ But they’re easy. I mean, they jump; they pop on tape, man. I remember as a young scouting assistant doing William Hayes on a cut-up tape — you know, Winston-Salem State … jumped off tape. He’s still playing playing in the league; this is 10-plus years, you know? Those guys that really pop, they stand out. They’re easier. Really.”

So if they don’t jump out on tape, you’re not going to project them as good pros.

“Absolutely. The tape’s the resumé.”

And Leonard fits the scheme right? The new scheme?

“Oh — you kiddin’ me? Absolutely. I mean, absolutely. I’ve been here 12-plus years, and it’s kind of like Back To The Future going back to the scheme that we ran before. Oh — it’s great.”

Leonard’s a weakside linebacker, right?

“Absolutely. To a T. He’s fun. I mean, he’s real fun. The athlete is unique. Saw him play live, and the kid’s got juice as a person, you know what I’m saying? Like his presence about himself. I remember going on a school visit — South Carolina was a new state for me; I do Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and added South Carolina this year, North Carolina, so it was newer schools for me. So, they practice at 5:30 in the morning, which is cool. And you walk up there and you hear this guy like hootin’ and hollerin’, bringing all this energy, and I’m like, ‘OK, well where’s Darius Leonard?’ And they’re like, ‘That guy over there.’ I’m like, ‘The guy in the end zone?’ I’m like, ‘Alright; I can get with this,’ you know? So he brings a lot of energy, and you kind of wonder, like, ‘Hey, he knows there’s scouts coming through there right? It’s not a big school, right?’ You can see scouts at practice,’ so I went and I saw him play live against North Carolina Central on a Thursday night, and at those games you can just walk around and kind of go wherever you want to go on the sidelines. So I was kind of like, lurking, so to speak, near the sideline — near their sideline — and just to see his mannerisms, his demeanor, how he communicated with his teammates, it kind of just confirmed what you saw at practice; that consistent, like, juice, energy level, which obviously we’re looking for — which Chris (Ballard) has preached since he’s got here. We like to have guys that are not only athletic — you need physical traits — but lets get some guys in that have some juice that can bring the energy level up.”

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2018 'Through The Scout's Eye' Series:

Linebacker Darius Leonard
Guard Braden Smith
Defensive end Kemoko Turay
Running back Nyheim Hines
Running back Jordan Wilkins
Wide receiver Deon Cain
Linebacker Zaire Franklin

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