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Colts’ Quartet Makes PFF’s First-Quarter NFL All-Pro Team

NFL: OCT 04 Colts at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 3-1 Indianapolis Colts have had four players named to PFF’s First Quarter All-Pro team including tight end Mo Alie-Cox (first-team), defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (first-team), linebacker Darius Leonard (second-team), and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (first-team):

TE MO ALIE-COX, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

With injuries biting deep in Indianapolis, Mo Alie Cox has seen an uptick in opportunity and responded by emerging as one of the best playmakers at the position over the first month of the season. He had back-to-back PFF game grades above 90.0 in Week 2 and 3, and for the season, he has generated a passer rating of 126.3 when the ball has been thrown his way, scoring two touchdowns and catching 84.6% of targets.

DI DEFOREST BUCKNER, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Colts traded a first-round draft pick to San Francisco for the right to sink a boatload of cash into DeForest Buckner, and it has paid off handsomely so far. Buckner is on course to have by far the best season of his career, improving his overall PFF grade by almost 10 grading points from his best years in San Francisco, and they were solid in their own right. He has 15 total pressures through four games, with five in each of his past three games. He also has 10 defensive stops while playing both sides of the line inside, causing chaos for opposing offenses trying to block him.

Second Team LB: Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

FLEX D XAVIER RHODES, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

How much does a change of scenery or simply getting healthy make a difference? Xavier Rhodes went from allowing a catch on over 80% of targets last season with the Vikings to picking off passes, breaking three more up and allowing just a 47.0 passer rating over his first month of play with the Colts. More than that, Rhodes looks visibly more fluid in his movements and far more like the player that was once one of the better shutdown corners in the game before his deterioration.

Each of whom has been instrumental in the team’s early season success and current winning record right now.

Among the Colts’ standout quartet, Alie-Cox currently ranks first among NFL tight ends with a +93.1 grade overall, Buckner ranks 2nd among interior defenders with a +90.7 grade overall, Leonard ranks 3rd among linebackers with a +81.6 grade overall, and Rhodes ranks 3rd among cornerbacks with a +82.0 grade overall respectively.

Each player came to the Colts in different ways too—which is kind of unique.

The Colts signed Alie-Cox as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2017, the team drafted Leonard in the early 2nd round during 2018, Buckner was acquired by trading the team’s 2020 first round pick, and Rhodes was signed this past offseason as a veteran free agent.

What is clear though is that general manager Chris Ballard and his scouting regime have done a great job collectively of finding, discovering, developing, acquiring, and salvaging talent in all different forms, shapes, and sizes among these current standout four horses.