Leonard is arguably Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s best find to date, taking the small-school prospect early in the second round of the 2018 draft. Along with Nelson, Leonard became a First-Team All-Pro as a rookie, the pair becoming the first pair to do so since 1965.
Leonard earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after becoming the first rookie since Luke Kuechly in 2012 to lead the NFL in tackles (163) and also becoming the first player in NFL history to record a season with 160 tackles, 7.0 sacks and two interceptions (according to Pro-Football-Reference.com). His tackle mark also set the Colts’ new franchise single-season record.
“The Maniac” had an incredibly decorated rookie season, also earning NFL Rookie of the Week twice (Weeks 2, 8), AFC Defensive Player of the Week twice (Weeks 2, 17), AFC Defensive Player of the Month (December), NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month (September), All-AFC Team (PFWA), and All-Rookie Team (PFWA) recognition.
Although he missed three games with a concussion, Leonard is having yet another excellent season in 2019. He is first on the Colts with 71 total tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions (tied), is second on the team with three sacks, and tied for third with four tackles for loss.
According to PFF, Leonard ranks ninth among all linebackers in tackling (78.5), eighth in pass rushing (76.0) and seventh in run defense (76.6). He is also one of just seven linebackers who have four or fewer missed tackles, and has fifth-most solo tackles among the bunch (48).