Zaire Franklin has been having a breakout season for the Indianapolis Colts and is on pace to break a record set by Shaquille Leonard.
This season has been an unfortunate one for the Indianapolis Colts. Despite underwhelming as a team, the biggest disappointment may just be not being able to see Shaquille Leonard play this season. However, Leonard’s unfortunate absence has also led to one of the best things about this season. That’s the emergence of linebacker Zaire Franklin.
Stepping in for Leonard, the fifth-year linebacker has been showing that he’s not just a special teams player and locker room leader, but he’s an elite linebacker as well. Not many people would’ve said that about Franklin when he re-signed with the Colts this past offseason for three years and just $10 million— now one of the best bargain deals in the league. However, with an increased role, Franklin has been balling out this year.
Not only is Franklin currently leading the NFL in tackles, but he’s on pace to set a new franchise record for most tackles in a season. Of course, the record is currently held by Shaquille Leonard. With six games remaining, it’ll be fun to see if Zaire can chase down Leonard.
Zaire Franklin could set Colts’ record for most tackles in a season
Currently, the record is 163 tackles and Leonard set that mark during his first season in the NFL as a rookie with Indianapolis. That was the year he broke out on the scene and quickly showed everyone he was one of the best linebackers in football. He also led the league in solo and total tackles that season, something that Franklin is also on pace to do after 11 weeks.
Playing in all 11 games for the Colts, Franklin currently leads the NFL with 109 total tackles. He’s averaging 9.9 tackles a game. If Zaire maintains that rate over the final six games of the regular season, he’ll pick up an additional 60 tackles on the year. That would bring his season total to 169, six more than Leonard’s current record.
Of course, there’s the fact that Franklin’s record would be in a 17-game season while Leonard did it during a 16-game season. Additionally, Shaq only played 15 games as a rookie, making everything he did even more special. Either way, if Franklin finishes with more than 163 tackles he would have a new Colts record.
What’s most impressive is that these aren’t just non-impactful tackles or tackles that are being made way downfield. Franklin has been making a lot of key stops for a dominant defense. Although the Colts currently have a losing record, it isn’t because of Franklin and the defense. Even more impressive, Indy’s other starting linebacker, Bobby Okereke, currently has the seventh-most tackles in the league with 95.
That means Franklin is playing in a talented defense where he really has to earn his tackles and he’s been doing a tremendous job to get them. It’ll be nice to watch how many more he gets in the next six games as we wait to see if he’ll track down Shaquille Leonard.