Deane Leonard was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he attended nearby Notre Dame High School. In 2014, he helped his school win the Provincial Title while also lettering in both basketball and track.
Also a fun fact: Chargers teammate Amen Ogbongbemiga also played alongside Leonard at Notre Dame.
Following his prep career, Leonard played three seasons for the University of Calgary where he helped them win the Vanier Cup in 2019. In 23 games, he recorded six interceptions and was twice named an All-Canadian selection.
Prior to the 2020 college football season, Leonard transferred to Ole Miss where he’d finish out his college career. His first year in Oxford saw him earn a pair of starts while seeing action in eight total games. Leonard earned a full-time starting job at cornerback in 2021 and finished with 50 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and seven pass breakups.
At Ole Miss’ pro day, Leonard impressed with a 4.39 40 time at 6’0 and 195 pounds. He also had a solid 4.18 in the short shuttle but underwhelmed with a 33-inch vertical.
Leonard would eventually be selected by the Chargers in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL draft with the 236th-overall pick. The year prior, Leonard was actually drafted second round of the 2021 CFL draft but decided to go back to Ole Miss for his final year of eligibiity.
As a rookie with the Chargers, Leonard played mainly on special teams but finished the year with five total tackles to go with a big-time forced fumble and recovery.
College: Ole Miss/Calgary
Years with team: 1
“Deane Leonard signed a 4 year, $3,759,664 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $99,664 signing bonus, $99,664 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $939,916. In 2023, Leonard will earn a base salary of $870,000, while carrying a cap hit of $894,916 and a dead cap value of $74,748.” - Spotrac.com
Leonard offers excellent speed and agility which he utilized as a mainstay on the team’s special teams coverages. His rookie highlight came against the Broncos on Monday Night Football that helped the Chargers down Denver in overtime.
The cornerback group is a bit crowded at the top but the coaching staff loves his versatility and believe he could develop into a solid depth player in the coming years.
After being productive for Calgary, Leonard failed to record a single interception in his two seasons with the Rebels. His 33-inch vertical shows a lack of explosion in his lower body which isn’t ideal for a position that covets exceptional leaping skills.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
This offseason, the Chargers lost Bryce Callahan (slot starter in 2022) and then added three new corners via their 18-man undrafted free agent class. It’s safe to say that Leonard will once again land on the team’s final 53 as a key role player on special teams with the versatility to play either cornerback or safety in an emergency situation.