S – #9 Texas A&M
Year: Redshirt Junior
High School: Cy Springs (Cypress, TX)
HS Rating: 4 star (0.9624)
Phil Steele: PS#19
Leon O’Neal Scouting Report
Very fast. Excellent speed for the back end. Fluid athlete. Average lateral ability. Much quicker in straight line situations. Decent upper body strength. Doesn’t look big nor very strong in his lower half. Change of direction is very average. Very close to average.
Tough, physical tackler. I think he tends to go too high, but brings a lot of power. Not a great wrap up technique. More lunge technique than anything. Not aggressive enough to be a great tackler in space. Too passive. Very inconsistent tackler. Typically good, but has a tendency to under pursue at times. Not a great blitzer. Struggles with timing and to get through the gap.
Provides decent deep end coverage. Disruptive at the catch point in his zone. Very capable in the back end, less effective underneath. Somewhat capable in man coverage. Slightly below average in this regard. Too aggressive and too willing to jump at fakes. Not the best space defender. Instincts aren’t great. Not consistently in position. Seems not to trust his eyes at times. Oftentimes nowhere to be found.
What we want to see from Leon O’Neal in Mobile
- Leon O’Neal’s projected role could improve if he shows what he can do against tight ends in man coverage. If he’s capable in the role, his value increases tremendously. Let’s see what he can do in 1v1’s at the Senior Bowl.
Pre-Senior Bowl Projection
Leon O’Neal is a rangy safety prospect who’s overall an inconsistent tackler. He would be a good fit in cover-two base schemes where he can play more boundary coverage than anything. He won’t be a day one starter, but teams could project him starting as soon as year two with proper development. At the very worst, he’s a capable backup in the right system.
O’Neal has good size for the position and if he can properly develop, there is upside. We project him as a fourth/fifth-round prospect In this class. Teams will buy into his upside and potential and take him with the experience he has.