The pick is in. This is Kevin Colbert’s final year as the general manager, and like in past years, we want to evaluate the value of each pick. Based on projections for each player by draft outlets as well as our own reports, we want to see if the pick’s value is above or below how they were ranked coming into the draft.
Round 3 (Pick 84) – DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
There are still questions about the defensive line coming into the draft with uncertainty in Stephon Tuitt’s availability. Age also needs to be considered so bring in youth to learn from the veterans was a factor in this choice. Leal is a junior entry into the NFL, and had a breakout season in 2021 with 12.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks.
Daniel Jeremiah had him ranked at 89th on his Top 150.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave him a third-round grade and compared him to New York Jet John Franklin-Myers. Here are his thoughts on Leal:
“Early entry defensive lineman who appears to be caught between “best fit” positions at this time. Leal possesses adequate rush skills and knows how to craft a rush plan, but a lack of suddenness and closing burst turns potential sacks into hurries without the help of a long pocket count. When the motor is cranked up, he can stack and slide past run blockers with efficiency and quickness. He didn’t put together the tape that was expected and disappointing reps against Evan Neal (Alabama) and Charles Cross (Mississippi State) could create concerns about his pro readiness. Most will see him as an even-front defender in some capacity, but playing 3-4 DE might be his best fit as a pro.”
CBS Sports had him ranked number 64 overall and compared him to Houston Texan Ross Blacklock, saying:
“Quick and strong hands allow him to win at the point of attack. Does a great job of establishing leverage. Very active. Can string together moves.” They described his weaknesses as, “Inconsistent production in 2021. Positional tweener in the sense that he is neither a perfect fit at defensive end nor tackle. Does a great job of establishing leverage. Very active. Can string together moves. Did not test well at the combine.”
Tony Pauline from Pro Football Network defined his positives as:
“Explosive one-gap defensive tackle who makes game-changing plays on the field. Athletic, quick off the snap, and plays with proper pad level. Rarely off his feet, strong in his lower body, and keeps his feet moving. Tough to knock from the action, moves well in every direction, and is fluid when asked to twist or stunt. Remains disciplined with assignments and easily changes direction or alters his angle of attack.” He had his negatives as, “Consistently controlled at the point by a single blocker. Does not display a great closing burst. Possesses average playing strength. True position on Sunday is still undetermined.” And concluded with, “Leal is a defensive line prospect who showed progress in his game last season and comes with an upside. That being the case, he must fill out his frame, improve his playing strength, and step it up as a pass rusher.”
Our profile was completed by Jonathan Heitritter, and he described him as a second-round pick and future quality starter while also comparing him to Franklin-Myers. He would summarize Leal saying:
“Leal’s ability to rush the passer and get penetration could interest the Pittsburgh Steelers, should they need a replacement for Stephon Tuitt if he decides to not comes back. However, his lack of size and strength on the inside that make him a potential liability against the run could deter Pittsburgh from heavily considering him early due to the fact they struggled so much against the run last season. There is no denying Leal’s athletic talent and his upside as a sub package rusher but continuing to get stronger and develop his body will determine whether he becomes a capable starter or a quality player on the defensive line.”
Overall, you may be noticing a theme here. Pittsburgh once again stayed at their spot waiting to see who came to them, and it was another player in which they sent the positional coach to his Pro Day. Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar was on hand to watch his workout, which has shown to be a good indicator of the Steelers’ interest, especially on Day 2 of the draft. The value of this pick, like the two previous, is GOOD. He was rated between the second and third rounds consistently, and will add valuable depth to the roster.