The Colts have taken the first step to fix their linebacker situation in the form of South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard. If your first reaction to the pick was, “who?” That is understandable. Coming from a small school means he hasn’t got the same kind of spotlight that many of the bigger school guys get. However, there is plenty to like, and quite a few questions as well.
Let’s start with the good. Leonard is a serious athlete. He has a great size and is fast and violent when moving to the ball. He can play in coverage and also be used in the blitz. That speed will get put to work in Eberflus’ new system that relies primarily on attacking. Despite being a small school guy, he showed out at the Senior Bowl. He will still need to prove he can hang with NFL level competition, but he has the capability of being a solid WILL linebacker for the Colts.
Now let’s talk about the knocks on him. As a small school guy, he’s a projection. He hasn’t spent significant time playing against top talent, and that means that it is just about impossible to know how he’ll stack up against real NFL offenses. He can be undisciplined, which when combined with his high motor, can lead him to overpursue.
All in all, this pick seems like a solid one that fits precisely what Chris Ballard has said he wanted to put together. With Eberflus guiding him and helping him develop in a scheme that lets him use his natural abilities, he could really end up being a great pick for this team. The Colts defense just got better.