One of the top discussed linebackers in the “second-tier”, so to speak, of the 2022 NFL Draft cycle has been Wisconsin’s SAM linebacker, Leo Chenal. The star Wisconsin linebacker was used in a variety of ways in the Badgers defensive system.
He’s a big boy, playing last year at about 250 pounds and is reportedly set to weigh in at the Combine at 260. He was an all-Big Ten talent last season, collecting 115 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks – showing his versatility not only as a run defender but his upside as a pass rusher as well.
Football Sapient: I was actually looking at you again on Monday, when I got here, just kinda going over some stuff specifically the Northwestern game last year. Can you talk a little bit about what you guys were doing schematically and what your role was in that defense?
Leo Chenal: Yeah. My role is, obviously, like I said (at the podium earlier) was stopping the run first. Being a leader vocally. Obviously, as an example as well, but just being able to make a play, you know? First down, get that momentum. We pride ourselves, you know our linebacker room, we pride ourselves on stopping the run. Being able to get downhill, on the other side of the line of scrimmage. So I definitely think just setting an example and being able to build that momentum on first down.
Football Sapient: How would you feel about playing a role, maybe like a 3-4 rush edge?
Leo: Um, you know, I’ve been in that position a little bit before. I’m most comfortable off the ball. You know, I definitely like learning new things. So that’s kinda cool. Just working with guys like Cameron Thomas. He’s one of the guys I’ve gotten to know really well, really good guy, really nice guy. He’s helped me out, taught me a few things, that I’ve already picked up on certain things, so I just love learning new things.
Football Sapient: How do you feel in pass coverage and what are some of the things that you’re working on to show that you can match up on tight ends?
Leo: I feel like I’m comfortable in pass coverage. It just comes out of little things, you know, like in just the past month, month and a half here. Just working at Exsos, just getting my hips a little looser. Working on, like, footwork, stuff like that. You know, it just comes down to a combination of little things and I definitely think I’m improving and I will continue to improve.
Post interview notes and impressions
Leo Chenal has a great composure to himself and walks with a lot of self confidence. He came across as a very straight-forward and honest not only with me but with himself, which I tremendously appreciated in my conversation with him, walking out of the media room.
I like the tools that Chenal has displayed on tape and I don’t think he leaves the second round. He appears to be interviewing well here in Indianapolis and should continue to thrive throughout this process.