Colts GM Chris Ballard has regularly stated that his philosophy is that you build teams through the draft. That makes this time of year critical to the Colts’ long term success. So in the lead up to this year’s draft, I wanted to do something to honor some of the meaningful draft picks that the Colts have made in their time in Indianapolis. These players have helped to tell the story of the Colts franchise we love. Every day leading up to the draft, we’ll drop a story about a different player from Indianapolis Colts draft history.
Today we’re talking about USC linebacker Duane Bickett. Bickett was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 1985 draft. He joined a Colts team that was heading into its second season in Indianapolis and his first season with the team proved to be a special one.
Bickett was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1985 after amassing 141 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and an interception over the course of the season. This was the first time a Colts player had been awarded that honor, and Darius Leonard is the only other Colts player to be named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Though Bickett’s time with the team did not coincide with a particularly high point in the franchise’s history, his own contribution to the team is notable. He is the current franchise record holder for solo tackles with 1,052 during his time with the Colts.
His 1987 season saw him named to the Pro Bowl as well as making Second-Team All-Pro. Bickett played for the Colts from 1985-1993 and played briefly for the Seahawks and Panthers before retiring in 1996. For a new franchise trying to find its identity and build a following in a new city, Bickett represented the team’s first drafted star.
If you were a Colts fan in the 80s, Bickett represented an exciting player who brought some punch to the transplanted franchise, and some hope to a team that hadn’t really gotten its footing in Indianapolis. If you owned a jersey or have a memory of Duane Bickett, drop it in the comments below!