Darius Leonard takes defensive rookie of the year

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Colts linebacker Darius Leonard wasn’t taken in the first round of the 2018 draft, but he’d likely hear his name called a lot earlier if that were to be redone after getting a look at last year’s rookie class in action.

Leonard played a major role in lifting the Colts defense back to being a capable unit during the 2018 season and that turnaround played a big part in the Colts going from 1-5 to 10-6 and a Wild Card spot.

Leonard led the league with 163 tackles to go with seven sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles in 15 appearances as a rookie. That led the Associated Press voters to select him as 2018’s defensive rookie of the year.

Chargers safety Derwin James, Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Browns cornerback Denzel Ward and Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb also had strong debut seasons as professionals, but Leonard stuck out above the rest.

18 responses to “Darius Leonard takes defensive rookie of the year

  1. Really, who else could it be? The also rans had great years, but no where close to what Leonard did.

  2. Chubb may well tun out to be the better player, he had 12 sacks. Leonard benefited from being on the field every down.

  3. The crazy thing about the 2018 draft is that Leonard would still likely be no higher than the 4th highest LB taken. Smith is a range monster who likely had his rookie production tempered by a holdout, Edmunds is crazy athletic and young and so might have the highest upside of anyone in the class, and Vander Esch was similarly productive (per snap) as Leonard and also brings more athletic upside. In many (most?) drafts, Leonard would likely look like the slam dunk best LB in the class as of this point, but this might be an all-time loaded LB group.

  4. laughterguns says:
    February 2, 2019 at 7:17 pm
    Chubb may well tun out to be the better player, he had 12 sacks. Leonard benefited from being on the field every down.
    _____
    You are aware that he missed one game this season and still led in tackles by far…. Right?
    Of course you’re not.

  5. crush22 says:
    February 2, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    You are aware that he missed one game this season and still led in tackles by far…. Right?
    Of course you’re not.

    ——————————————————————————————

    laughterguns says:
    February 2, 2019 at 6:58 pm
    Really, who else could it be? The also rans had great years, but no where close to what Leonard did.

    Yes. Yes I am.

  6. laughterguns says:
    February 2, 2019 at 9:43 pm
    crush22 says:
    February 2, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    You are aware that he missed one game this season and still led in tackles by far…. Right?
    Of course you’re not.

    β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

    laughterguns says:
    February 2, 2019 at 6:58 pm
    Really, who else could it be? The also rans had great years, but no where close to what Leonard did.

    Yes. Yes I am.
    _______
    Therefore he wasn’t out there on every down….. Like you said.
    See how that works?

  7. What’s you point, my friend? DROY doesn’t dictate who will be the better player in the long run. Leonard in hands down the DROY. Chubb may be (will probably be) the better player. I was replying to jzinke957. You’re right, Leonard missed a game and still led the league in tackles. He deserves DROY.

  8. He was one of the few Colts to show up against the Chiefs in the playoffs. Congratulations Darius.

  9. All good players no doubt. The best of the bunch when all is said and done maybe tremaine edmunds. Dude was 19 when drafted ( youngest player ever ), played outside linebacker in college and was moved to MLB as a 20 year old. Had more ups and downs then the rest of the mentioned players but by the end of the year was calling plays. Had 120 tackles too. Definitely wasn’t better than these other guys this year but could be the best when all is said and done. Like someone said before, great year for linebackers it seems

  10. Darius Leonard deserves the award. The Colts really nailed the second round last draft wtih Leonard and a great OT in Braden Smith. Honorable mention to Vander Esch who may have won if he had been put in the starting lineup earlier.

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