Colts star Darius Leonard losing weight to maximize his ability to play his best football
The Indianapolis Colts struck gold in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the selection of linebacker Darius Leonard. It is clear that he is not looking to rest on his merits just yet.
Leonard certainly looked the part of a prototypical linebacker at nearly 235 pounds last year. According to Kevin Bowen of 1070 The Fan, he is looking to get much leaner before the start of the 2019 NFL season.
“I’m not a typical linebacker,” Leonard said. “I’m more of a speed guy, very athletic so if I’m going to play in space, I’m going to need to move.
“If you look at a linebacker, 6-4, 230 pounds, going to come downhill. I’m more of a speed guy and very athletic. So if I’m going to play in space, I need to be able to move. And I played all my life at 215, 220 and was never over 225. And last year I was injured a lot, that was when I was pretty heavy, so I want to stay down. Hopefully I can cut some of that down.”
Leonard spent the 2018 campaign with the Colts shattering a number of rookie franchise records. He ultimately finished with a league-high 163 tackles, 7.0 sacks, two interceptions, and four forced fumbles en route to first-team All-Pro honors. The 23-year-old has set the bar rather high for himself moving forward.
It is encouraging to see that a promising player like Leonard is still looking for ways to improve his game. He burst onto the scene in Indianapolis as one of the most talented, young defensive players in the league last season. The fact that he is still looking to take his game to the next level is a cause for concern in the AFC South.