Because most rookies don’t get enough credit, we’ll be highlighting some top performances by the NFL’s next generation.
Defense: Week 3
Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts
In this year’s draft, few, if any prognosticators had Darius Leonard going in the first round. Admittedly, he wasn’t on my radar. Many of the scouts thought that the South Carolina State product was near the top of his potential as he finished college. He’s maybe a little below optimal size, and has a longer, leaner frame, leading scouts to think that he could get pushed around at the next level. The Indianapolis Colts didn’t see it that way, and while they didn’t pick him in the first round, they came mighty close, selecting him with the fourth pick in the second round. Well played, Colts, well played. He just might be the defensive steal of this year’s draft class. What has he done since entering the league? Not much, he’s just leading the NFL with forty-one combined tackles (Kiko Alonso is next with thirty-four) and jumping off the screen in every single game. Dude is ALWAYS in the right place at the right time. In Sunday’s back and forth loss to the Eagles, Leonard led the Colts much better than advertised defense, racking up thirteen combined tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss and a pass deflection to help the Colts keep the game close. This is my official mea culpa to Leonard, and to the Colts, who I accused of neglecting their underperforming defense in the draft. Clearly, they made one of draft day’s savviest moves.
Check out previous rookie reports here.
Image Source: The Comeback