Riley Leonard’s Draft Profile | Notre Dame, QB Scouting Report

Once viewed as a potential early-round talent, can Riley Leonard improve his 2025 NFL Draft scouting report with a new team in 2024?

Notre Dame’s Riley Leonard was one of the early darlings of the 2023 summer scouting period, but the 2023 season didn’t match the excitement. In the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, can Leonard supplement his scouting report and return to the early-round conversation?

Riley Leonard’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 217 pounds
  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Notre Dame
  • Current Year: Senior

The leap to college football is often a test to see who can acclimate quickly. Leonard passed that test with flying colors at Duke.

After arriving on campus in 2021 as just a three-star recruit out of Fairhope, Ala., Leonard started a game as a true freshman. In 2022, as just a true sophomore, Leonard completed 63.8% of his throws for 2,967 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions while also running for 699 yards and 13 scores.

Leonard’s early success is something not many have shared over the years, nor is his quick maturation; he was a team captain in 2023. But he doesn’t get swept up in the accolades.

In fact, the 2022 Military Bowl MVP famously receives “you suck” texts from his mother before each game — a unique motivation tactic that ensures he never gets complacent.

After the 2023 season, however, doubts may be easier to come by from the crowd. In a year marred by injuries and poor support, Leonard started just seven games. And over that span, he completed a career-low 57.6% of his passes for 1,102 yards, three TDs, and three INTs.

At one point early in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle, Leonard was viewed as a potential early-round riser. But now, he needs a new infusion of momentum.

After transferring to Notre Dame, the hope is that Leonard can find it and revitalize his stock in the process.

Leonard’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Prototypical QB talent with great baseline tools, providing a framework to build on.
  • Has good baseline arm strength, generating solid short and intermediate-range velocity.
  • Has high-end arm elasticity and angle freedom, which he can use to elongate windows.
  • Brings the necessary elasticity to layer velocity and touch on throws to multiple levels.
  • Quietly an exceptionally explosive, agile athlete with high-level creation capacity.
  • Has legitimate deep speed, change of direction, and flexibility on cuts as a runner.
  • Is a smooth, congruent, and crisp rotational thrower when his rhythm isn’t disrupted.
  • Flashes promising resolve, spatial IQ, and lane awareness as a pocket navigator.
  • Naturally able to place short passes for RAC with situational precision, leading WRs.
  • Shows glimpses of extraordinary situational precision fitting the ball into tight buckets.
  • Has a level of pre-snap command, and uses pre-snap hot reads to make quick decisions.
  • Can work right-to-left on deep crosser concepts and anticipate boundary windows.
  • Able to anticipate placement on short throws and lead WRs into opening windows.
  • Has good outlet and checkdown awareness, and will preserve himself as a runner.
  • Has great overall competitive toughness and is a respected team leader.

Weaknesses

  • Arm strength, while good, is visibly below the elite mark.
  • Velocity noticeably wanes when forced to throw off-platform or fading from pressure.
  • Struggles to maintain upper-lower synergy and shoulder alignment when pressured.
  • Dropback footwork can be slow, sporadic, and imprecise, with choppy weight transfers.
  • Can improve his carriage, as improper load can limit and snag his hip rotation.
  • Can be prone to poor pocket management and pressure sense, drifting into sacks.
  • Still learning how to process pressure and the field simultaneously without focus breaks.
  • Composure and poise in tight pockets is very inconsistent, affecting his congruence.
  • Direct interior pressure threats can cause him to hesitate and miss timing throws.
  • Anticipation, while good, can be more consistent on routes breaking back to the ball.
  • Inconsistent utilizing his adaptability, and sometimes drops his eyes too quickly in reps.
  • Prone to erroneous misses and inaccuracy with streaky down-to-down mechanics.
  • Experienced a stark regression in 2023 after a 2022 season that showed promise.
  • Missed part of the 2023 season with an ankle injury that required multiple surgeries.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Heading into the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, Leonard grades out as a mid-to-late Day 3 prospect. That said, he has the physical talent to rise into the early-round conversation with a good season in 2024. And a change of scenery at Notre Dame could be exactly what he needs.

At around 6’4″, 217 pounds, Leonard is a prototypical passer with good arm strength, near-elite arm elasticity, and extremely impressive functional athleticism and running ability for his size. With his athleticism, he’s a dynamic rushing threat, and his passing upside is alluring.

With his arm elasticity, Leonard has flashed the ability to layer passes into incredibly tight and precise windows while maintaining velocity, and he also flashes the necessary processing capacity and anticipation to pick out those tight windows in real-time.

However, at this stage, a lack of down-to-down consistency with pocket management, poise under pressure, mechanical congruence, and timing has prevented Leonard from reaching his full potential. And in 2023, an early ankle injury lingered and impacted his ability to find comfort.

Leonard’s stagnation and regression in 2023 after a strong 2022 is concerning. That said, not all of the factors at play were under his control.

If given the support he needs in South Bend, Leonard has the talent and operational upside to rise in the 2025 NFL Draft class.

Right now, Leonard, who’ll turn 23 years old in September of 2025, is a viable Day 3 selection with distant starter potential. More growth in 2024 could help accelerate his timeline as an NFL-caliber passer.

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