To Colts fans this will come as little surprise, but to those elsewhere around the league less plugged in on the Colts, it might be a shock to hear that Colts’ rookie linebacker Darius Leonard has notched himself the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month award.
There were a lot of opinions about Darius Leonard when the Colts drafted him in the 2nd round with pick number 36. Most of them went something like this one from Bleacher Report:
“The Indianapolis Colts’ selection of South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard with the fourth pick in the second round was one of the draft’s worst moves. They took four second-rounders, so they had plenty of room for error, but this one stands out as a head-scratcher.”
All Darius Leonard did through the first month of the season was pile up 54 tackles, 4 sacks, a forced fumble, and 7 tackles for loss. His 54 tackles through four games is the most for any player since 1994. He has been a dynamic playmaker all over the field as a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker, and has had a profound impact on the Colts’ defense as both a playmaker and leader already in his very young career.
It didn’t take long for him to begin getting recognition, earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week for his performance in week two against the Washington Redskins in which he had 19 total tackles, a sack, a pass defended, and a forced fumble.
There have been no signs that Leonard will slow down, and coming from a small school, there is every reason to think the arrow will only point up from here for him. Leonard is just 4 games into what is turning out to be a truly impressive rookie season, and his impact on this team has truly been something special to watch.