Darius Leonard is Defensive Rookie of the Year, and it’s Not Close

The rookie linebacker has had a monster year for the Indianapolis Colts.

Darius Leonard is the defensive rookie of the year – and it is not even close.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is good. Derwin James is good. Roquan Smith is good. But Darius Leonard is great.

These eyes have never seen a rookie linebacker have this much of an impact before. Darius Leonard not only leads the Colts in tackles, but also leads the entire NFL in tackles with 114 through 11 games. He leads the next closes player by 17 tackles. That is not normal for a rookie.

The rookie outside linebacker from South Carolina State also has 6.0 sacks for the Colts, which also leads the team. To say Leonard is the heart and soul of the defense is a gross understatement; Leonard IS the Colts’s defense.

Darius Leonard does not just specialize in one thing. He does everything on the defense. He can rush the passer, tackle in open space, drop back in coverage, and spy on the quarterback. To have a player like Darius Leonard in this league is so valuable. The fact he was not a first round pick is still insane to me after watching him play.

I could make a case that not only does Leonard deserve defensive rookie of the year, he is also deserving of NFL defensive player of the year. Although that award will likely go to a flashier name like Khalil Mack or Aaron Donald, Darius Leonard has still earned some consideration.

Either way, Darius Leonard is only 23 years old and will only get better. The Colts defense is in very, very good hands with Leonard for a long, long time.

Also, in case you needed a laugh, here is a guy who said Darius Leonard was one of the worst picks in the draft.