Devin Leary’s Draft Profile | Kentucky, QB Scouting Report

Devin Leary had an incredibly productive season for the NC State Wolfpack in 2021, and he could do the same thing for Kentucky in 2023. But is he an NFL Draft prospect?

The Kentucky Wildcats weren’t ready to give up their run of high-end college quarterback play after the loss of Will Levis. Adding Devin Leary gave the Wildcats a form of continuity, but did Leary do enough to field capital as a 2024 NFL Draft prospect? Here’s his scouting report.

Devin Leary Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 217 pounds
  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Kentucky
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

Leary was born in Borhees, New Jersey, to Glen and Lorie Leary. The natural lefty learned to throw right-handed because he used his brother’s baseball glove as a child.

Leary was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN, and On3 and a three-star recruit by 247Sports. He received offers from several Power Five schools, including Baylor, Maryland, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh.

After redshirting in 2018, Leary started in five games for the Wolfpack in 2019. It was the first time a redshirt freshman got the start at NC State since Russell Wilson in 2010.

Leary was expected to start in 2020 but missed crucial time during camp after contact tracing forced him off the field. He came off the bench in Week 2 and started the next three games. However, a fractured fibula ended his season early in the second half against Duke.

That injury spelled doubt for Leary in 2021 at first. But against all odds, he roared back and put together a historic season at NC State, completing 283 of 431 attempts (65.7%) for 3,433 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just five picks. He broke Philip Rivers’ school single-season TD record and led an upset win over Clemson.

Unfortunately for Leary, the injury bug came back in 2022, and in the sixth game, he tore his pectoral muscle. He needed season-ending surgery, and in 2023, transferred to Kentucky to close out his collegiate career.

Leary hoped to rekindle his 2021 magic with the Wildcats, but he wasn’t able to do so. They went 7-6 through bowl season, and Leary himself completed 209 of 371 attempts for 2,746 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 picks.

Leary’s college career was successful enough, but now that his eligibility is exhausted, how does he translate to the NFL? That’s the pressing question for the Kentucky QB.

Leary’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Experienced QB who can recognize opportunities pre-snap and act on that information.
  • Pre-snap recognition can lead to quick and confident post-snap decisions.
  • Flashes solid drive velocity when he’s able to fully sequence his rotation.
  • Has enough arm talent to layer throws up the seam and lead WRs upfield past coverage.
  • Not an elite athlete, but has surprising evasive capacity in compromised positions.
  • Can proactively time his trigger on curls and hitches, and has a snappy release.
  • Has good corrective mechanical quickness on play-action and rhythm throws.
  • Shows glimpses of control and composure in the pocket when navigating lanes.
  • Extremely tough pocket presence with the play strength to squirm through solo tackles.
  • Able to read DB leverage in man coverage and throw WRs open out of breaks.
  • 2021 tape showed a pocket operator in complete control, with good anticipation.
  • Possesses solid accuracy and can adequately lead WRs for RAC out of breaks.
  • Has shown to divert quickly to his checkdown when the pocket compresses.

Weaknesses

  • Has below-average velocity generation to the deep third and lacks great arm strength.
  • Doesn’t have the arm elasticity to maintain pace while sacrificing drive for loft.
  • Has some creation capacity but isn’t an overly explosive or agile mover.
  • Confidence can lead to trouble with post-snap rotations, as he fails to adapt at times.
  • Footwork on his dropback can be a bit faster and more efficient at times.
  • Erroneous motion with his front foot at the top of drops can impact throw trajectories.
  • Will sometimes force 1-on-1 boundary shots without displacing defenders with eyes.
  • Can be more consistently proactive creating space inside the pocket to evade pressure.
  • Inability to consistently create throwing lanes can contribute to batted passes at the line.
  • Has a lengthy injury history, and willingness to take hits may only increase risk.
  • Will turn 25 years old in December of his rookie season.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Leary grades out as an undrafted free agent QB prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and should generate interest as a priority free agent (PFA) if he isn’t selected. Though Leary’s late-career tape wasn’t as strong as his work in 2021, there’s upside to be unearthed if an NFL team can get him back to form.

At his peak, Leary was a surgical pocket passer with competent creation ability and above-average functional arm talent. But late in his career, compounded injuries and a lack of supporting stability may have taken a toll on his overall comfort.

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At Kentucky, Leary was less consistent operationally. While there were flashes of the above-average drive velocity that existed in 2021, more frequent mechanical fluctuations under pressure also put his non-elite arm talent under the spotlight.


Leary isn’t a liability in any one area — but he also doesn’t stray too far from the mean in any physical or intangible category. He’s tough in the pocket but struggles to navigate at times. He can read DB leverage, but he’ll force ill-advised decisions, and his middling physical profile makes his margin for error that much slimmer.

Nevertheless, as a PFA signee, Leary has appeal. He’s tough, experienced, and accurate when he’s on.He also has enough talent to take hold of a QB3 spot in an NFL rotation.

If he can stay healthy and comfortable, and keep striving for more operational consistency, Leary could grow to be a solid backup, which is a very respectable ceiling.

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