We get it, alright. The Indianapolis Colts haven’t won a playoff game in three years and they’re searching for their first division title since 2014.
Taking these shortcomings into account, Indy has become an easy target in terms of being disrespected by the national media. However, this is a new era of Colts football, one that boasts one of the most talented rosters in the entire NFL.
Despite that, their standout players continue to get overlooked and flat-out slighted by prominent media outlets. The latest instance of this came from none other than Pro Football Focus, which did Jonathan Taylor dirty in their annual running back ranking a few weeks back.
It’s clear Indianapolis did something to offend PFF, because they just managed to disrespect arguably the best linebacker in the game. That seems impossible, but ranking Darius Leonard as the sixth-best LB qualifies as such.
The good news for the Colts? Well, for starters, these lists mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Even better than that, however, is the fact that Leonard will undoubtedly take this disrespect personally and use it as motivation.
Darius Leonard being disrespected by PFF is good news for the Colts.
We’re not asking for Leonard to top the list, but for him to not even crack the top five (let alone the top three) is just careless analysis. His career is off to an historic start and he’s rightly going to become the highest-paid LB in the league this summer.
For those curious, PFF bases their rankings on their player grades, and Leonard’s has declined in each of the last three years. However, that says more about their grading metrics than anything else given that he continues to produce monster numbers.
We have nothing against the players ranked ahead of Leonard, but the fact he’s behind someone like Fred Warner, who’s from the same 2018 draft class and got the No. 2 spot (!) despite having inferior numbers makes us question if PFF actually watches the Colts.
To put Leonard’s impact on the Colts’ defense into perspective, they were a laughingstock before his arrival in 2018. This past season, they ranked 10th in points allowed (22.6), eighth in total yards (332,1) and second in rushing yards (90.5), which is an enormous jump.
We hate overreacting to a meaningless offseason list, especially from PFF, because Leonard without a doubt knows he’s the only LB to record 400 or more tackles and at least 15 sacks since he was drafted in 2018. However, they took things a step too far here.
The former second-rounder isn’t someone who has to search far and wide for motivation — he literally seeks out criticism on Twitter before games to intensify his fervor — but you better believe he’ll have this list pinned inside his locker all season.
If that’s not great news for the Colts, then we’re not sure what is.