Raphael Leonard took a huge step in the right direction Tuesday as he chases the pro football dream. In front of scouts from all 32 NFL teams at Northwestern's Pro Day, the FCS and Southern Illinois prospect shined.
Leonard, a 6-foot-2 and 193-pound wide receiver, put up testing numbers that would have placed him among the top receivers at the 2019 NFL Combine.
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His 4.43-second 40-yard dash would have ranked just outside the Top 10 for WRs at the Combine. Leonard's 40-inch vertical would've ranked in the Top 5. And his 132-inch broad jump would have ranked in the Top 10.
He repped 225 pounds on the bench press 12 times.
"I feel like my performance went pretty well," Leonard told HERO Sports. "I honestly thought I was going to time at 4.3 in the 40 because that’s all I consistently timed at while training. I also didn’t give myself enough time to completely warm up. I had a personal best in my broad jump. A couple of scouts told me that I helped myself out with my performance. So I’m pretty pleased."
Fourteen Northwestern players competed at the Pro Day. Leonard's 40 time tied for the best among Wildcat players, his vertical jump was the best and his broad jump was the best.
To stand out like that among FBS players is massive for Leonard and his NFL stock undoubtedly is rising. He tells HERO Sports he will most likely run routes at SIU's Pro Day, which is tomorrow (March 14).
Leonard started his college career at Florida Atlantic in 2015. In 2016, he transferred to East Mississippi Community College and was a part of Netflix's "Last Chance U" series. He then developed into a top wide receiver for SIU in 2017 and 2018. Leonard was named to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second Team his senior year after catching 57 passes for 847 yards and seven touchdowns.