Tim Benz: Steelers rookie DeMarvin Leal ‘touching the waters’ with decision to add some weight

Given the thirst so many people had for the Pittsburgh Steelers to draft a defensive lineman, I’m sure the instant reaction from most was to applaud when DeMarvin Leal’s name popped up next to the franchise’s logo in the third round last month.

But that may have been followed by some confusion when they saw his size, read his scouting reports and watched his tape. At just under 6-foot-4 and 283 pounds coming out of Texas A&M, Leal rushed in a way that Steelers fans could’ve said, “He’s Bud Dupree (6’4”, 269 lb) if he loses 15 pounds.”

Or, especially given the Steelers’ need for youth at depth at defensive end, the more practical projection is, “If he puts on 10-20 pounds, he can be the next Stephon Tuitt (6’6”, 303 lb) or Cameron Heyward (6’5”, 295 lb).”

In fact, if you read the Pro Football Network pre-draft scouting report on Leal, he certainly sounds like a lighter version of those two stalwarts upfront for the Steelers.

“Leal has the size to play inside as a defensive tackle but the explosion of a defensive end. He possesses exceptional athleticism for his size, impressive change-of-direction ability, and enough speed to be a problem as an outside rusher.

Leal’s athletic prowess means that he can effortlessly line up outside but work inside as a pass rusher. His lateral agility is one of the most impressive elements of his NFL Draft scouting report.…

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