The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects who could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Green Bay Packers bolstered their defensive line group by signing free agent Jarran Reed to a one-year contract. With Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and now Reed, the Packers have the makings of a solid defensive group for the coming season.
What will this group look like in a year? Reed and Lowry will be free agents next season.
With that in mind, Brian Gutekunst will likely look to address the defensive line group early if the right player comes his way in the 2022 NFL Draft.
A player Gutekunst could target with one of his two second-round picks is ByMarvin Leal. The Texas A&M defensive lineman checks in at No. 10 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.
Demarvin Leal skipped filming in 2019 and 2020.
For a defensive lineman who has played almost every technique for @AggieFootballI’m surprised we don’t talk about him anymore.
— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) April 16, 2022
Leal came to Texas A&M as a five-star recruit. As a 2019 rookie, Leal started seven games and recorded 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The following season, Leal recorded seven tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception and four pass deflections.
Last season, Leal recorded 58 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. The former five-star rookie finished the season on a terror, recording 17 tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks over the past three games. In the last game against LSU, he recorded six pressures. This strong end to the season is what people have been expecting from Leal all season. With his traits, it’s not out of the question that Leal could display that kind of production at the NFL level.
“Leal is an interesting prospect because he has a lot of traits, but sometimes it’s hard to gauge everyone’s ability because his consistency sometimes drops,” said Ian Cummings, NFL Draft analyst for Pro Football Network. “I would say his lateral agility is his greatest strength as a defensive lineman. It is something that appears inside and on the edge. He can execute clean strokes and inside moves with his lateral mobility, and he has the contraction and energy inside to manipulate leverage. It’s also quite flexible and has the ankle flex to gain around the apex at times.
Leal passes the eye test with his NFL-ready frame. It has a tall and long frame without excessive weight. He entered the year with Top 15 buzz, but the hype didn’t always match the tape, at least consistently.
DeMarvin Leal is the only returning Power 5 defenseman who @PFF_College had with running and passing defense ratings of 80.0 and above.
I might like to put some on him.
— Connor O’Gara (@cjogara) August 20, 2021
“If you put together his best reps from every game, he displays all the tools needed,” Cummings said. “He burst, lateral agility, power, strength and violent hands. He looks like a prospect who has yet to play his best football.
Leal is explosive from the snap of his fingers and is quick to get penetration into the gap. He is nimble and seems fluid moving through space. Leal has a loose lower body and is able to evade blockers. He has excellent foot quickness and has the quickness to chase ball carriers from behind. Leal may need to get stronger at the point of attack to withstand early NFL-level trials.
“He’s more consistent giving the advantage as a big end,” Cummings said. “Here, its strength and carcass density allow it to establish anchorages and hold in space. He also has enough athleticism to be a chase factor. Inside, around 3-technique, 2i and 4i, it is a little less regular. He has some disruptive ability here with his athleticism and heavy hands. Leal can put sideline players, as well as carve gaps with his length, and his solid base keeps him balanced. But he doesn’t have the elite playing strength to consistently open double teams, and with a frame that isn’t quite as wide, he can be led relatively easily at times.
Leal offers a lot of advantages as a pass thrower. He has first-step quickness to keep offensive linemen on their heels. Once he wins the corner, he executes the arc with a big flurry. He has quick hands. The Texas A&M defensive lineman converts speed into power. Leal has long arms to keep blockers off his chest. He has a nice bag of tricks as a pass-rusher, including an impressive spinning move. When Leal has his engine running, he can be nearly unblockable.
Look at this spinning move by DeMarvin Leal pic.twitter.com/oMtdwRIFX6
— Joe DiTullio (@DiTullioJoe) January 11, 2022
“Leal must have a strong toolbox because he rushes from a lot of different rosters,” Cummings said. “On the edge, at 5 techniques and outside, he displays a good burst and power. He can leverage his initial acceleration into strength on contact and rush into his opponent’s torso with his length. He also has a euro-chop-rip combo that he uses, combining his lateral agility and heavy hands. Inside, Leal’s power doesn’t translate as well, but he can pull anchors with his strong hands. His lateral agility presents an offset here, and he can use his agility and hands in conjunction to execute strokes. And against stiffer guards, his ankle flex can also sometimes help here.
Fit with the Packers
The Texas A&M defensive lineman would fit perfectly as a five-man in Green Bay’s 3-4 scheme. He is a splash player against the run and would immediately bring juice to Green Bay’s already impressive passing rush.
Leal is part of the Top 15 talents. His output at College Station didn’t always match the talent, but there’s no denying that Leal has the tools in the shed to become a disruptive force playing alongside Clark.
With the 28th overall pick, the Green Bay Packers select: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M. pic.twitter.com/07eFoe01rp
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) February 14, 2022
The Texas A&M defensive lineman ticks the boxes with his blend of size, speed and power. If Leal were to be drafted by the Packers, he would have a case for being the most talented defensive lineman to ever play with Clark (based on traits). The question is, could Green Bay unlock this talent on a consistent basis?
“Leal can be that player who alternates between 3-point and 4-point 5-technique position reps, and 3-technique reps as a disruptive inside defensive end,” Cummings said. “He has a working arsenal of pass rush moves, and he has enough visible physical advantages to be worth a look. He may not have the pure athletic ceiling of a Rashan Gary, but his ceiling is still quite high, and he can be a quality asset down the line with his versatility.
Gary is an interesting comparison to Leal. While Gary was in Michigan, he often left you wanting more. Talent and traits didn’t always match production and impact on the pitch.
Gary was a huge trait-based projection. It looks like Gutekunst and his team knocked this projection out of the park.
It can’t be ruled out that the Packers will roll the dice on a similar trait-based projection three years later by taking Leal, a tooled defensive lineman who could wear multiple hats in the first seven for the Packers.
I’m not even kidding. If the Packers draft DeMarvin Leal, he would quickly become the best DL Kenny Clark has ever played with. He has all the tools in the shed. pic.twitter.com/xq3mgAagmO
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) February 14, 2022
“I really like the versatility with Leal,” Cummings said. “He can be that big advantage, and he has quintessential traits like agility and curvature. He also has the power ability and strength to be a factor on the inside. We just need to to see him maintain power and maximize those things more consistently. I’m excited to see what good NFL coaching can do for him. The talent is there. But along the same lines, the landing spot is particularly important in unlocking its potential. If it’s not in the right place, we may never see it.
As a rookie, Leal would provide quality depth along the defensive line. After his rookie season, he could play a starting role playing all five techs alongside Clark, where those two could wreak a lot of havoc in the NFC North for the foreseeable future.