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A.C. Leonard makes a case for himself with strong 40 time


One of the more intriguing tight end prospects in this year’s draft is A.C. Leonard, who started his college career at Florida, ended it at Tennessee State, and turned in a 40 time that will raise NFL eyebrows today at the Scouting Combine.

Leonard ran his 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, the fastest among all the tight ends at this year’s Combine and the third-fastest for a tight end since 2006, behind only Vernon Davis’s 4.38 and Dorin Dickerson’s 4.40. Leonard has phenomenal speed for a guy who’s 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds.

But NFL teams may not view Leonard as the kind of person they want on their franchise. Leonard was one of the many Urban Meyer recruits who got into off-field trouble at Florida, pleading no contest to a misdemeanor battery count after his girlfriend told police Leonard shoved her to the ground and dragged her through an apartment by her hair. Florida coach Will Muschamp said he and Leonard made “a mutual decision” that Leonard would leave school.

Leonard transferred to Tennessee State, and last year he was named a second-team FCS All-American. His performance on the field at Tennessee State showed that he has NFL talent, and his 40 time today reinforced that. The question is whether his on-field talent outweighs his off-field problems.