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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Darnell Leslie, DE, Monmouth University

Darnell Leslie is a big boy with great power moves

NFL Diamonds has been providing our readers Prospect Interviews over the past 3 years and this year we mixed things up a bit. Our questions are designed to give our readers a little more insight on the draft eligible player. We hope to bring you more than 350 interviews of NFL Draft Prospects this season. You will be able to track them all on the front page of our website in the banner to the right.  Now let’s meet our next prospect!!!!

What is your name?

Darnell Leslie

What is your Height/Weight?


What is your position?

Defensive End/Outside Linebacker

Where do you play college football?

Monmouth University

Football is about giving back, what is the coolest thing you have done off the field?

Me and few other team mates visited the Children’s Center of Monmouth County and played games of pick-up touch football with the autistic and handicapped children for about 2 hours. It was so satisfying to see the smiles on the kids faces when they were able to throw touchdowns and run the ball on me and my team mates. An overall great experience for everyone involved!

What was the hardest college class you ever had to take

Software Operating Systems

Where are you from?

Gaithersburg, MD

Who is your role model, and why?

My older sister, Felecia. Seeing how hard that she’s worked in her career and to see her success has shown me that dedication and commitment go way beyond the football field.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I wasn’t the best but I played basketball for my middle school team.

Did you play any other positions in football?

In high school I played Guard and Defensive Tackle my senior year. But I’ve played defensive end/outside linebacker all throughout college

At your position, what separates you from others?

My ability to bend the edge and aggressively close on down blocks.

When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?

I tend to look for the Tackles tendencies pre snap. Do they show where they’re going by looking at the defender? Do they sit back on their heels for pulls or pass blocks? Do they lean when they’re going to down block? And how they take their first kick step on pass plays.

Who was the toughest player you ever faced?

Mike Estes from Gardner Webb

If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why

Khalil Mack because he mostly plays with his hand in the ground but has the versatility to drop into coverage.

What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?

Coming back from an injury during my junior year. I was able to overcome it with daily positive energy and support from my family and teammates.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I say the same prayer to myself right before my team goes out for stretch. I also have a game day playlist I listen to.

What is your biggest strength?

My competitiveness on and off the field.

What is your biggest weakness?

How much pressure I put on myself when I want to achieve something. Sometimes I forget to just sit back and trust the process for what it is.

If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?

I’m a competitive, self motivated guy that loves to make myself and everyone else around me better in any way possible. I don’t do anything halfhearted and would sacrifice whatever it took to be the best player/man I could possibly be.

Who was your favorite player and/or NFL team growing up?

I always enjoyed watching YouTube videos of John Randle and how he pass rushed. But being from the DMV I’ve rooted for the Redskins my whole life.

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would you choose?

Sean Taylor, President Obama and Beyoncé.

What will be the first big item you buy once you are in the NFL?

A house on a hill for my entire family to live.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]

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