Texas A&M Football: Why DeMarvin Leal will be biggest 2022 draft steal

DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M football Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M football Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Throughout the 2021 season, a fair portion of the conversation surrounding the Texas A&M football team was in regards to who the Aggies’ best player was. While the answer on the offensive side of the ball was somewhat clear — Kenyon Green — the best player on a stacked defense could be a number of A&M’s guys.

That said, one might rise above the rest. That player is an A&M defensive lineman, DeMarvin Leal.

Throughout the 2021 season, Leal was largely considered a first-round prospect on the defensive line. Leading up to offseason testing, including the NFL Draft Combine and Texas A&M’s Pro Day, Leal seemed like a priority pick. That changed quickly.

Texas A&M football defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal’s poor testing may have just made him the biggest 2022 draft steal

Unfortunately for Leal, he did not test well. Actually, that may be an understatement — Leal had as debilitating of an offseason as physically possible. If he had sustained an injury and not tested at all, he’d likely be landing higher in most mock drafts.

Unfortunately, Leal has become a second-to-fourth-round pick in virtually every full mock draft in existence.

Now… if you’re familiar with me, you know my opinion on NFL mock drafts outside of the first round. If you’re not familiar, my opinion on the late rounds of NFL mock drafts is that they’re almost completely pointless and a waste of time. But sometimes, you can gather useful information from these.

For example, CBS Sports’ full seven-round 2022 mock draft has DeMarvin Leal dropping to the third round. A player who was once considered a top ten pick has officially fallen to middle-round status.

But on a long-term scale, none of this matters. It’s almost comical how much NFL scouts are willing to overreact to a player’s testing when that same player has given nothing but elite production.

As early as his freshman season, Leal was an important contributor at A&M. The Aggie defensive lineman accumulated 38 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks in his first year. He improved steadily. The next year, he’d record seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. In his final campaign, he’d tally 12.5 tackles for loss along with 8.5 sacks.

Leal wasn’t just productive, either — he was the type of player who would draw a double-team no matter where he was on the field. Opposing offensive coordinators would spend nights game-planning for him specifically.

So why are a couple of bad testing days having such a huge impact? Who knows.

One thing that is abundantly clear is that NFL scouts are begging to be proven wrong. Leal was a five-star prospect coming out of high school and he’s an elite NFL Draft prospect. For two days to throw that down the drain is mind-boggling.

Next. Every Texas A&M player taken in CBS Sports' mock draft. dark

Write it down, bookmark it, or do whatever you need to do. DeMarvin Leal will be the biggest NFL Draft steal in 2022.