Colts 2023 season honors: MVP, most improved, rookie of the year, and more

Now that the 2023 NFL season is over for the Indianapolis Colts, let’s hand out some awards to the players on this year’s team.

Indianapolis Colts v Carolina Panthers
Indianapolis Colts v Carolina Panthers / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Defensive Player of the Year: Zaire Franklin

Primiarly a special teamer in his first three seasons with the team, Zaire Franklin got started in 2021 as a starting linebacker for 11 games. Little did anyone know, he'd be doing big things for the Colts after that.

In 2023, Zaire Franklin broke the single season record for combined tackles with 179. The previous record was 167 combined tackles set by Franklin in 2022. How does that compare to all other tacklers in the NFL? Franklin's 346 combined tackles is ranked second over the last two seasons, only behind Foyesade Oluokun's 357. It's no doubt that he is one of the NFL's top tacklers in the league. In 2023, he finished second behind Bobby Wagner while only playing in 16 games.

Franklin is the new leader of the defense with Shaquille Leonard gone. He might not be the leader anyone expected, but he sure is the leader that the Colts needed.

Offensive Player of the Year: Zack Moss

There are several guys that could have fought for this award, including Gardner Minshew, Jonathan Taylor, and Michael Pittman Jr. But did any of those players have the impact that Zack Moss brought to the table as RB2?

Moss was not expected to make a huge impact on the Colts this year after the poor performances he's had to start his career. However, with the absence of Taylor in weeks 1-4 and then again from weeks 13-15, Moss stepped in and exceeded expectations. While Taylor was out due to injury, Moss made a case to being one of the top running backs in the league. After the first nine weeks of the season, Moss had the fourth-most rushing yards in the league.

Even though he finished with the 27th-most rushing yards, his impact as a play maker and game changer was still very large when Taylor was in the game. Zack Moss is a free agent this offseason and could sign anywhere to be a feature back. The Colts should look to bringing him back as a true 1A/1B solution with Jonathan Taylor.