No matter how many times rookie cornerback-turned-safety Donovan Warren has had a query about the Jets’ intricate defense, Leonhard has always helped.
If Warren makes it, if the former first-team All-Big Ten cornerback at Michigan, who went undrafted after leaving school early, secures a roster spot, he’ll owe a lot to Leonhard.
"I sit behind him in meetings and try to pick his brain," Warren told me. "I know he knows the defense in and out. That’s the guy I try to listen to. He’s given me some good advice."
Leonhard has been a mentor and friend, helping Warren find his way in the league much like he did as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin five years ago.
"I kind of have that connection with everybody that’s an undrafted free agent," Leonhard told me. "You want to help out and make sure they have someone that they can look to for advice… or anything, really. It’s not the easiest route to take, so hopefully it’ll work out for him."
It's not unusual for players to pick the brains of the current crop, but having someone make himself available at every opportunity is a blessing for the Jets. Warren has a strong reputation and like many suggested here at the time (I admit I thought it was possible, but also that we would keep him as a cornerback) the Jets see him transitioning to the safety position.
I think one of the main slights on certain players whether they be rookies or veterans (you know who) is that some are reluctant to ask for help, because it's perceived as a sign of weakness. It's great to see Warren working his tail off and getting help along the way. If Leonhard is half as good as teaching as he is executing, then Warren is in very capable hands indeed.