Darius Leonard, LB1, and an Extension That Reflects his Talent

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Darius Leonard and the Colts agreed on a five-year, $99.25 million contract extension with $50 million guaranteed, per Bleacher Report.

The Colts took a chance on Darius Leonard by selecting him in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He was a linebacker from South Carolina State, a small school of fewer than 3,000 students. Many people thought that the Colts reached by selecting Leonard 36th overall in the 2018 draft; a draft that ended up being a stacked linebacker class.

The class consisted of Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Jerome Baker, Leighton Vander Esch, Fred Warner, and Rashaan Evans. A good chunk of this class has become elite linebacker talent, yet none of them performed as well as Leonard has — he is LB1 in the NFL.

In the three years since Leonard entered the league, he has played 42 games, totaled an outstanding 416 tackles (268 solos),  26 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, 22 passes defended, 7 interceptions, 9 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and a defensive touchdown. Leonard is ranked as the LB2 overall in the IDP Guys Dynasty Rankings, mainly due to the 2020 Devin White explosion.

Becoming the LB1

One of the worries about Leonard, when he came into the league, was his ability to cover. He has seven interceptions in three seasons, as you can see here:

Leonard squashed any of this negative talk and thrived in coverage since coming into the league. He is a tremendous playmaker and causes teams to scheme away from him, though unsuccessfully. Here are some of the highlights from Leonard's career to date, including a couple of jaw-droppers:

If you did not think that Darius Leonard was the NFL's best linebacker, the Colts gave him a contract that says differently. Darius Leonard is the LB1 in the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts just made sure that everybody knows it.

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter @JoeyTheToothIDP. Find all of my fantasy football writing here on idpguys.org, and get ready for plenty more!

Joseph Haggan

I am the proud father to an amazing young girl and husband to an unbelievable wife. Senior writer for IDPGuys, as well as projections creator and co-founder of our elite IDP Scoring Tool.
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