Leo Chenal shines at the NFL Combine
There’s no denying Leo Chenal’s on-field production the past two seasons for the Wisconsin football program.
Chenal would lead the Badger football team in tackles for loss as well as sacks during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Last year, in particular, he was one of PFF’s top-ranked linebackers against the run and as a passer.
He would go on to record 21 pressures from the linebacker position, as well as nine sacks — which was the fourth-most among any linebacker last season. Chenal would also have 92 total tackles, including an impressive 18.5 for a loss. His 58 saves, also known by PFF as plays that end in a “loss” for the offense, were again fourth among linebackers.
Certainly, if there’s one area Chenal could improve on, it’s in coverage, where he allowed 19 receptions on 21 targets for 11.2 yards per catch. But a big part of what Chenal was asked to do in Wisconsin was attack the line of scrimmage. Overall, he was one of the most dominant linebackers, not just in the Big Ten, but in the country, and was named a second-team All-American.
Here’s what The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs had to say about the Wisconsin Football linebacker in his scouting report:
“He plays an abnormally high role as a pressure player, showing some lineup versatility to play assaulted in interior spaces or shoot second tier as a green dog pressure addition later in reps,” said Crabbs. “Chenal gets high marks for his footballing character and is a visible energy catalyst for his teammates. With a fit frame and some transmission potential, Chenal will have the opportunity to convince an NFL franchise of his potential at become a more dynamic player in all phases.
Yet despite Chenal’s production, some in the draft community may have questioned his athleticism, especially with his cover stats. However, after the show Chenal put on at the NFL Combine where he was one of the most impressive linebackers, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
Chenal was just over 6’2″ tall and weighed 250 pounds. He would go on to post a vertical of 40.5 inches and 10.08 feet in the long jump. Chenal also ran the 40-yard sprint in 4.53 seconds, all ranked among the best at linebacker.
In fact, according to Kent Lee Platte’s Relative athletic score chart (RAS), which, for ease of comparison, quantifies a player’s sports test numbers as a single number on a scale of 0 to 10, Chenal’s score of 9.99 out of 10 was the highest of all combine linebackers and one of the all-time highest posted scores at linebacker.
Chenal didn’t do the bench press, but instead will do it on his Badger pro day. This is another event in which he is expected to score incredibly well. If Chenal had competed in this event at the combine, many believed he might have set the record for the most reps.
Prior to the combine, Chenal was No. 10 on The Draft Network’s big board at linebacker. He’s also projected as a third-round pick right now in the NFL Mock Draft Database, which compiles hundreds of fake drafts and big draws.
However, all of that could now change very quickly. When you pair Chenal’s sports testing numbers with his tape and production, he’s someone who could be flying the drawing boards over the next six weeks.