Some critics didn’t like the Indianapolis Colts selecting South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard in the second round of the NFL draft. So far Leonard is playing up to his draft status. He has worked with the first-team defense during the first week of training camp, a good indicator that he might start at linebacker.
Leonard turned a lot of heads in practice last week with an athletic interception of Andrew Luck.
#Colts play of the day yesterday, Darius Leonard got a interception via a seam pass, intended for TE Erik Swoope. Darius also had added another good play in coverage against Andrew Luck, a fine start for the team’s No. 36 overall draft pick.
— Coltspool (@coltspool) July 27, 2018
“It’s really what we saw on tape,” defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus told ESPN 1070 AM. “There was really no surprise as to what he brings to the table. Just athleticism, a fluid athlete, a speed player and has a lot of upside. “We are excited to have him.”
Leonard missed the spring activities with a quad injury but dedicated himself to catching up once camp began.
“I honestly think I’ve caught up a little bit. I’ve spent a lot of time with the coaches, paying a lot of attention in the meetings and stuff,” Leonard told reporters Saturday. “I don’t think I’m behind any. I think I’m right with everybody else.”
Focusing on defense today rookie Darius Leonard looking good. pic.twitter.com/6pHCupvFSJ
— The Joe Show (@JsimzTV) July 27, 2018
HBCU fans have never doubted the ability of Leonard. Especially MEAC opponents who might have felt like tackling dummies at times facing Leonard who was dubbed “The Maniac.” However, some high brow critics do look down their collective noses at “small school” players.
“I’ve heard it,” Leonard told reporters. “I’ve been overlooked ever since I was little. So I love to prove people wrong. I’ve always been an underdog so it kinds of puts a little fuel on the fire and pushed myself to prove everybody wrong.”