Giants could target linebacker in 2nd round to fit Wink Martindale’s scheme

leo chenal, giants

The New York Giants entirely reworked their coaching staff this offseason. After firing head coach Joe Judge, Brian Daboll took his place and hired Mike Kafka as offensive coordinator and Don “Wink” Martindale as defensive coordinator. Kafka and Martindale are exciting hirings expected to shift the Giants’ schemes significantly. On the defensive side of the ball, Martindale is a proven coordinator who achieved great success for years with the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants need to build their roster to fit Martindale’s scheme, though, and linebacker prospect Leo Chenal might be a perfect fit in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Leo Chenal is an exciting linebacker prospect out of Wisconsin. Chenal is a premium athlete with a refined pass-rushing skillset. Wink Martindale is known to run a blitz-heavy defensive scheme. Linebackers are frequently sent as extra pass-rushers in Martindale’s scheme. The Giants could target Leo Chenal in the second round of this year’s draft and perfectly fit him into Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

What could Leo Chenal bring to the Giants?

The New York Giants are in need of reinforcements on defense. Linebacker is a huge need for the Giants with Blake Martinez coming off of an ACL tear and little talent on the roster behind him. If the Giants are targeting a linebacker in the 2022 NFL Draft, Leo Chenal out of Wisconsin makes perfect sense. Chenal is a phenomenal pass-rushing linebacker whose “scheme fit” according to TDN is in a “blitz heavy, aggressive defense with quality coverage options in the secondary.” The scheme described sounds a lot like Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

Leo Chenal earned incredibly high grades on Pro Football Focus’s scale. His 92.1 overall grade makes him the highest-graded Power 5 linebacker since 2020. In the 2021 season, Chenal recorded a 91.5 PFF Grade, the highest by a Wisconsin defender since 2014. Leo Chenal totaled 115 tackles in 11 games this past season. He also racked up an insane 18.5 tackles for loss to go along with 8 sacks on the season.

Chenal is a premium athlete at the linebacker position. He recorded a 9.99 relative athletic score (RAS) at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. Leo’s score ranked 4 out of 2188 LB from 1987 to 2022. In fact, his athletic score compares very similarly to former Carolina Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Keuchly.

Leo Chenal comes in at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds with 31-inch arms and 9.75-inch hands. Comparatively, Luke Keuchly was 6-foot-3, 242 pounds, also possessing 31-inch arms and 9.75-inch hands. Chenal and Keuchly also scored very similarly in the 40-yard dash, 10-yard and 20-yard splits, 3-cone, and the shuttle.

Video Analysis

For further analysis on Leo Chenal and the way he fits into the New York Giants’ defensive scheme, check out the episode of Fireside Giants below!

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