According to PFF, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard has been the franchise’s best value pick since 2006—after becoming a 4x NFL All-Pro since being selected by the Horseshoe in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of South Carolina State:
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: DARIUS LEONARD, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE (36TH OVERALL IN 2018)
This was T.Y. Hilton last year, but after Leonard’s fourth straight impressive season to start his career, he gets the nod. One underrated aspect of Leonard’s game has been his tackling — in four seasons, he’s amassed 511 tackles yet missed only 33.
During his four seasons with the Colts, Leonard has recorded 538 tackles (343 solo), 30 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, 11 interceptions, 30 passes defensed, a whopping 17 forced fumbles, and 7 fumble recoveries in 58 impressive career starts.
While ‘The Maniac’ recently underwent offseason back surgery, all early indications are at least encouraging that he can make a healthy recovery ahead of the 2022 campaign—and his lingering ankle issue may have finally been resolved for good.
When looking at his complete body of work so far as one of the league’s top linebackers (and now in NFL DPOY discussions), it’s hard to argue with Leonard as PFF’s choice here—for a career that appears fast-tracked to Canton, Ohio, at the Maniac’s current torrid pace.