2018 was a season of ups and downs. But the Colts drafted a great class of rookies that should contribute for many years to come. Which of them was the best of the bunch in their first season?
The Colts had a great crop of rookies this season. Most of them saw significant time out on the field in their first season. Two of them were so good that they were named First Team All-Pro. Those would be Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard. But which of them was better.
While Nelson changed the attitude of the entire offensive line and made them one of the best lines in the NFL, I have to go with Leonard. Leonard had one of the best seasons from a rookie in the history of the franchise, and he did so while missing a game due to injury.
Leonard led the entire league in tackles with 163, which led by 19. He did all that while missing a game due to injury. He also had 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Leonard was all over the field in all of the games that he played.
Nelson changed the attitude of the offensive line, but Leonard changed the attitude of the entire defense. The Colts have not had a player like this at linebacker maybe ever. His presence makes the entire unit better, and make it improve into a decent defense in 2018.
Leonard will only continue to get better too. This was his first season in the league, and it was after playing at the FCS level in college. He will get better at diagnosing offenses and making tackles in space. The sky is the limit for this very talented player.
I would expect Leonard to make a few more All-Pro teams before his time is done in this league.