Since Darius Leonard has entered the league, he has been one of the most complete linebackers across the NFL.
Leonard earned All-Pro honors in 2018 while following up in 2019 with another stellar season.
Even though he missed 3 games, he still made his presence felt.
In 13 games, he finished with 121 tackles, 5 interceptions, 7 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles.
Colts’ All-Pro LB Darius Leonard is tired of being disrespected. 😤
His stats from last season were historical:
▫️2 forced fumbles
He only played 13 games. pic.twitter.com/DnBfCUCI2Z
— Indy SportsOne (@IndySportsOne) February 10, 2020
He also earned Second-Team All-Pro honors.
One strong aspect of Leonard’s game has been his ability to blitz the quarterback for an off-ball linebacker.
In 2020, the Colt’s will be looking to expand on that ability on more 3rd down blitzing opportunities for Leonard.
Colt’s defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus recently appeared on the Colt’s podcast and talked about Leonard’s pass-rushing ability.
“He really excels in that area,” Eberflus said on the Colts’ official podcast. “And we’re looking forward to doing some other stuff with him in there, as well. You know, he’s had (12) sacks the first two years, and that’s a lot for an inside backer, and we’re just trying to get him to get more than that and to get our sack number up higher than that. So he’s expanding that way.”
Leonard has benefitted from working with Eberflus and the two will be looking to pick up where they left off when the offseason program begins in April.
While the Colt’s defense still has work to do to get to an elite level, Leonard’s ability has them on the right track for 2020.
Since Leonard was drafted into the NFL, he has 182 solo tackles (2nd), 12 sacks (1st), and 19 tackles for losses (19th), among off-ball linebackers in the league.
General manager Chris Ballard also spoke highly on Leonard saying:
“He’s a natural playmaker,’’ Ballard said. “You saw it in college. He took the ball away and made plays in college, and that hasn’t changed . . . reminds me of Charles Tillman. Tillman was the same way in college, they found ways to strip the ball, take the ball away.’’
While Leonard has accomplished a lot in his short career in the NFL, he says he isn’t satisfied.
“The only goal I met was the Pro Bowl,’’ he said. “I probably set 15 goals this year and that’s the only one I’ve met. I have so much room for improvement.’’
What other goals does Leonard want to achieve?
“Two hundred tackles,’’ he said. “Ten sacks, six interceptions, eight forced fumbles, Defensive MVP, Super Bowl MVP. My name’s not at the top of any of the goal sheets I want. I’m not Super Bowl MVP. I’m not Defensive MVP. I’m not none of that stuff.
“There are so many things I want to be great at. Right now I’m just a good linebacker and I’m aiming to be great.’’