Why Darius Leonard is really a darkhorse DPOY candidate

Darius Leonard is a darkhorse DPOY candidate

By: Jake Rajala

The Indianapolis Colts star linebacker Darius Leonard ‘feels amazing’ after his back surgery. Per Colts Wire, he could miss some training camp, but he should be ready for the regular season.

The former DROY has been a gift from the football gods, as he made the All-Pro team in three of the past four seasons. His latest season was especially impressive, as the Colts LB recorded a career-high 8 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, and 122 combined tackles.

Leonard strangely didn’t receive a single vote for DPOY last season. Of course, T.J. Watt would win DPOY, but it was odd that he wasn’t a strong second or even third choice. Instead of Leonard picking up any love, the Cowboys 2021 rookie Micah Parson had five votes and the three-time DPOY Aaron Donald (who is five years older than Leonard) had three votes.

Leonard may not be a traditional LB/defensive player, but he’s still a magnet for creating turnovers and big hits. I believe that a big issue with the Colts in the past was their lack of crunch-time games. I expect that his reputation will significantly improve with a Matt Ryan featured Colts team that will have more hotly contested match-ups. After the Colts switched from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan, I expect the Ryan-Jonathan Taylor show to also make opponents desperate to keep pace.

The former Colts safety Bob Sanders won DPOY from the safety position in 2007. Perhaps Leonard can be the Colts next unique player to win DPOY. If Leonard doesn’t win DPOY in the future, it’s still clear that he’s quietly putting together a career that could finish with him wearing a gold jacket.

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