Scouting Chicago Bears CB Cre’von LeBlanc

Scouting Chicago Bears CB Cre’von LeBlanc

In a season quickly deteriorating from one with dreams of competing for a playoff spot to forecasting which player the Chicago Bears might pick in the 2017 draft it is time to focus on the team’s current crop of young talent. On center stage should be players acquired since Ryan Pace because the team’s general manager. These young players need to see extended snaps to gain valuable game experience and help the evaluation process.

While the organization refuses to admit it, this team is in full rebuild mode. They will continue to cleanse out some of the previous regime’s mistakes with young, hopefully talented, players who can help develop a new core.

One of those players the Bears brass is focused on is rookie cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic. LeBlanc was in training camp with the New England Patriots and caught the eye of Bears coaches and personnel executives during this summer’s joint practices between the two teams.

The Bears followed his play throughout the preseason and saw LeBlanc make plays like this:

The Patriots cut LeBlanc with the hopes of stashing him on their practice squad, but the Bears jumped at the chance to claim the young corner.

[graphiq id=”2hAKPIKDu3b” title=”Cre’von LeBlanc Defensive Numbers in 2016″ width=”600″ height=”527″ url=”” link=”” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

At 5’11” and 190-pounds LeBlanc possesses average size for a cornerback. He instead relies on quickness, instincts, and toughness particularly inside as a slot corner, to compete against NFL receivers.

LeBlanc was a two-year starter at cornerback for Florida Atlantic. As a senior he was voted a team captain and the team’s defensive MVP after recording 43 tackles, four interceptions, and 11 passes defensed.

His college tape shows he made up for his lack of size and elite speed with short-area quickness and keen awareness in coverage. This gave him the ability to cover and mirror receivers. LeBlanc is quick in diagnosing what the offense tries set-up, and will swiftly attack trusting his instincts. He has the ability to immediately transition out of his back pedal and aggressively jump on anything caught in front of him. He also has an excellent feel for field leverage. He uses the boundaries to his advantage by leveraging against inside routes and limiting the receiver to the outside portion of the field.

As a run defender LeBlanc does not let his size limitation prohibit him from attacking ball carriers and quickly bringing them to the ground by wrapping up their legs.

Bears fans saw some of LeBlanc’s abilities against the Packers when he started the game as the slot corner. Although he was called for a couple of penalties LeBlanc displayed the short-area quickness, the field awareness, and aggressiveness he put on tape in college.

Against Green Bay LeBlanc had moments were he was matched up versus both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. On two separate occasions LeBlanc did a nice job denying a Packers touchdown to Cobb. On the first play LeBlanc, who was twisted around by Cobb’s route running, recovered in time to knock the ball loose in the end zone. While on the second play he displayed his awareness, and field leverage by pushing Cobb, as he was in the air, forcing him to come down out of bounds near the back of the end zone.

The other big moment LeBlanc had was on the early goaline stand. With the Packers going for it on fourth down, LeBlanc was lined up on Nelson just outside the left tackle’s shoulder. The Packers opted for a hand-off to wide receiver turned running back, Ty Montgomery. LeBlanc slid into the middle of the defense post-snap, located the ball, and was one of the first defenders to meet Montgomery in the hole to help prevent a score. It’s that type of aggressiveness, and instincts that allow LeBlanc to succeed.

Cre'von LeBlanc

Hitting on players like Cre’von LeBlanc, Bryce Callahan, and Cameron Meredith all of whom went undrafted out of college, will help the Bears in their quest to replenish an old, under achieving core with talented young players.

While expecting these kids to turn into NFL stars might be unrealistic, finding out what you have with players like LeBlanc, by playing them exclusively during a lost season, will benefit the franchise in the long run as they attempt to assemble a talented and deep all-around roster.

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Danny Shimon

Danny Shimon

NFL Draft Columnist for NFL writer for National Football post and NFCNBarroom

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