PFF’s Colts disrespect means Indy’s better than sum of its parts

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, which is incredibly impressive considering their core is largely composed of young players.

It’s also impressive in this regard: unlike like most contenders, the Colts would have what you would call an outright superstar. We would argue studs like Quenton Nelson, DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard belong in that tier, but the national media seems to think otherwise.

Let’s keep this conversation focused on Pro Football Focus, which has insisted on disrespecting some of the Colts’ best players, including Leonard and Jonathan Taylor, as well as a pair of their units on offense, including their receiving corps and offensive line.

To nobody’s surprise, PFF was back at it again this week. In a sorry attempt to assemble a list of the 50 best players in the league, Nelson was the only Colts player to crack it, meaning world-beaters like Buckner and Leonard were left on the outside looking in.

While Pro Football Focus’ continued disrespect is getting extremely stale, there’s actually a positive spin to it. It simply means Indianapolis is better than the sum of its parts.

Colts fans shouldn’t fret about PFF’s continued disrespect towards Indy.

While the Colts have a plethora of elite individual talents — Nelson, Leonard, Buckner, Taylor, Kenny Moore, etc. — they’re skillsets are accentuated by Indy’s infrastructure. That isn’t to say they’d be less effective on another team, but every Colts fan knows that.

The Colts have such a great culture and foundation in place that some of their star players’ singular impact on any given game can be glossed over. Though that still doesn’t justify Pro Football Focus failing to recognize stars like Leonard and Buckner in their annual rankings, their disrespect is more of a testament to the job Chris Ballard has done cultivating this roster.

At the end of the day, these lists don’t reflect what actually transpires in between the lines on Sundays. While it would be awesome to see some of the Colts’ unsung heroes get their proper respect, there’s something to be said that they rattled off 11 wins in a loaded AFC last season despite supposedly having just one top-50 player in the league.

Again, in what world is Leonard not a top-five linebacker? In what universe does Buckner not qualify as a top-three defensive tackle after the year he put together in 2020? And how on earth did Taylor fall outside the top 15 in PFF’s annual RB rankings?

These questions are silly and further prove that the Colts are better than the sum of their parts … which are still pretty damn good.