Skip to main content

Kansas City Chiefs Official Team Website |

Five Things to Know

Five Things to Know About Chiefs' Third-Round Pick Wisconsin LB Leo Chenal | 2022 NFL Draft

The Chiefs selected Cook with the No. 103 overall pick on Friday night

The Kansas City Chiefs made another addition to their defense on Friday night, selecting Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal with the No. 103 overall pick.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of Kansas City's linebacker corps.

1. Chenal put together a monster campaign in 2021.

The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Chenal was among the best linebackers in all of college football last year, racking up 115 tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles in 2021. He finished No. 7 in the FBS in tackles-per-game (10.4) and No. 2 in tackles-for-loss-per-game (1.6), earning "Big 10 Linebacker of the Year" and First-Team All-American honors following the season. Chenal was one of only two FBS players with 115+ tackles and 18.0+ tackles-for-loss in 2021.

Remarkably, Chenal recorded those numbers despite missing the first two games of the year.

FILE - Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal (5) runs during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers, Nov. 6, 2021, in Piscataway, N.J. Chenal is entering the NFL draft rather than returning to the Badgers next season. He announced his decision Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, on social media. The move comes after he earned second-team honors on the Associated Press All-America team as a junior. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File)

2. He profiles as a downhill, "brick wall" type of player.

Chenal is a classic, "thumper" kind of linebacker who thrives in a role that allows him to attack downhill. His 44 run stops last season were tied for the ninth-most among all linebackers, and according to Pro Football Focus, his "physicality" grade was a perfect 10/10.

Here's more from PFF's pre-draft analysis:

"Those that covet a brick wall coming downhill won't find a better option in the class…He's the best take-on linebacker in the country. Offensive linemen go backward when he makes contact…He packs a punch as a downhill player, as he can light up offensive linemen with ease. His 94.1 run-defense grade wasn't too far behind Micah Parsons' (94.8) PFF college record."

That style of play will fit perfectly in Kansas City, as Chenal can be used as a "strongside" linebacker, or "SAM," while fellow linebacker Willie Gay Jr. can man the "weakside," or "WILL" spot in the Chiefs' defense. Chenal can also serve as a backup middle, or "MIKE," linebacker. General Manager Brett Veach explained as much following Day 2.

"I think Leo allows us to play [linebacker] Willie [Gay] more at his natural position – the 'WILL' linebacker [spot]," Veach said. "Now, we have a 'SAM', and Leo will also have backup 'MIKE' ability. [Linebacker] Nick [Bolton] is so important to us – he kind of runs that show. So, now you have a guy who can play SAM and also back up that MIKE position."

3. Chenal is an absolutely incredible athlete.

One metric that helps illustrate Chenal's value is "Relative Athletic Score," which represents a composite of a player's various athletic testing results. In the case of Chenal, on a scale that ranged from one to 10, he scored a ridiculous 9.99. It was the third-best score for any linebacker prospect since 1987.

4. He was the No. 36 overall player on Pro Football Focus' draft board.

The Chiefs continue to amass tremendous value in this year's draft, as Chenal was PFF's No. 36 overall player available. Additionally, The Athletic's Dane Brugler ranked Chenal as No. 58 overall player (and No. 6 linebacker) in this year's class. Remarkably, the Chiefs drafted him at pick No. 103. Here's what Brugler wrote about Chenal:

"Overall, Chenal has room to grow as both a cover man and blitzer, but he has exceptional run instincts with above average key-and-diagnose skills and contact balance downhill. He compares favorably to Jordyn Brooks as a prospect."

5. Chenal comes from a big family.

The 21-year-old Chenal has 15 siblings. He grew up in Frederic, Wisconsin – a town of just over 1,000 residents about an hour northeast of Minneapolis – before moving to nearby Grantsburg for high school. He went on to compile a prolific high school career, earning Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a senior in addition to Wisconsin's "small school" Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards as a running back and linebacker. His talent caught the attention of Wisconsin, where Chenal played alongside his brother – John – from 2019 to 2021.

Chenal capped his strong career with a truly unforgettable campaign last season, and now a member of the Chiefs, he'll have his chance to continue his development as part of one of the top linebacker groups in the NFL.

Related Content