Colts linebackers are being severely underrated in latest linebacker unit rankings

Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) and linebacker
Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) and linebacker / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent ranking of linebacker units in the NFL, the linebackers of the Indianapolis Colts aren’t getting the respect they deserve.

The linebacker unit is one of the strengths of the Indianapolis Colts. The group is so good that they still excelled with All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard nearly missing all of last season. However, this quality wasn’t necessarily reflected in a recent ranking of the NFL’s linebacker units.

Dalton Wasserman recently ranked all 32 linebacker units for PFF. Entering the 2023 season, Wasserman ranked the Colts at No. 8. While being in the top 10 is pretty good, there aren’t seven linebacker units better than Indy’s.

Colts linebackers ranked as eighth-best unit in NFL

Wasserman explained that even with Leonard only playing 74 snaps last season, the linebacker unit still played well, led by Zaire Franklin and Bobby Okereke. Wasserman went on to say that “Leonard’s health will be the key for this unit,” referring to Shaq as “one of the premier playmakers in the NFL.”

With all of that understood, Wasserman still somehow ranked Indy’s linebacker unit at No. 8. Sure, Bobby Okereke left in free agency, but that’s because the Colts let him walk since they are set with Leonard and Franklin, and EJ Speed, who has only done good things whenever he’s on the field.

Filling in for Leonard last year, Zaire Franklin established himself as one of the better linebackers in the league with 167 tackles, 12 for a loss, and three sacks. Now, Leonard will return to lineup next to him, and everyone knows what he capable of when he’s healthy; he’s arguably the best linebacker in the NFL.

Last offseason, the Colts linebackers were ranked No. 2 by PFF, trailing only the San Francisco 49ers. Not much has really occured for that to significantly change; Indianapolis still has a top five linebacker unit.