MADISON, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 13: Leo Chenal #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers reacts after a play against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first half at Camp Randall Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
There was no denying Leo Chenal’s on-the-field production these 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. This past year, specifically, he was one of PFF’s highest-graded linebackers against both the run and as a pass-rusher.
He would go on to record 21 pressures from the linebacker position, along with nine sacks–which was the fourth-most among all linebackers last season. Chenal would also tally 92 total tackles, including an impressive 18.5 for a loss. His 58 stops, also known by PFF as plays that end in a “loss” for the offense, were again the fourth-most among linebackers.
Admittedly, if there is an area Chenal could improve upon it is in coverage, where he allowed 19 receptions on 21 targets for 11.2 yards per catch. But a lot of what Chenal was asked to do at Wisconsin was to attack the line of scrimmage. Overall, he was one of the most dominant linebackers, not only in the Big Ten, but in the country, and was named a second-team All-American.
“He’s featured in an abnormally high role as a pressure player, showcasing some alignment versatility to play mugged up in interior gaps or firing off the second level as a green-dog pressure add-on later in reps,” said Crabbs. “Chenal gets high marks for his football character and is a visible catalyst of energy for his teammates. With a rocked-up frame and some level of potential on passing downs, Chenal will have the opportunity to swoon an NFL franchise about his potential to become a more dynamic player in all phases.”
Yet despite Chenal’s production, there may have been some out there in the draft community who questioned his athleticism–especially with his stats in coverage. However, after the show that Chenal put on at the NFL Combine where he was one of the most impressive linebackers, that should no longer be a concern.
Chenal measured in at just over 6’2″ and weighed 250 pounds. He would go on to post a 40.5″ vertical and 10.08 feet in the broad jump. Chenal also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds–all of which ranked among the best at the linebacker position.
This badger can fly. @BadgerFootball LB @chenal_leo clocks in at 4.57u on his first run.
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/4uoUcIaRJj
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2022
In fact, according to Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Scoring table (RAS), which for easy comparison, quantifies a player’s athletic testing numbers into one figure on a scale from 0 to 10, Chenal’s score of 9.99 out of 10 was the highest out of all the linebackers at the combine and one of the best scores posted all-time at the linebacker position.
Chenal didn’t do the bench press, but instead, he will at his Badger pro-day. This is another event that he is expected to score incredibly well in. Had Chenal participated in this event at the combine, many thought that he could have set the record for most reps.
Prior to the combine, Chenal came in at No. 10 on The Draft Network’s big board at the linebacker position. He is also projected as a third-round pick at the moment over at the NFL Mock Draft Database, which compiles hundreds of mock drafts and big boards.
However, all of that could now change very quickly. When you pair Chenal’s athletic testing numbers with his tape and production, he is someone who could go flying up draft boards over the next six weeks.
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