Tag Archives: Darius Leonard

Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington Redskins, 9-16-18: In-game report

Washington had a chance to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2011 but strong play from the Colts defense and key adjustments in the offensive passing game led to an upset.  Washington (1-1) fell to Indianapolis (1-1), 21-9.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Darius Leonard 

Meet the NFL’s tackle leader: Darius Leonard, the 31st-ranked player on DraftNasty’s 2018 Big Board.  And if you watched Leonard at South Carolina State this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Leonard stuffed the stat sheet against the Redskins, posting 18 tackles, one quarterback sack, a forced fumble and a pass deflection.  As his numbers would indicate, Leonard was dominant in the run and pass game.  What was most impressive in the game against Washington was Leonard’s ability to use his closing speed to diagnose plays and keep potential 10-15 yard gains to minimal pickups. The rookie linebacker wears the helmet transmitter during games and has made himself into the quarterback of the defense.   His athleticism allows him to match up against tight ends and running backs in the pass game and is willing to help in the run game. He reminds me of Derrick Brooks with his sideline-to-sideline quickness and his matchup versatility.  Look for the Colts, who are in a rebuilding mode, to continue to build the defense around rookie linebacker Darius Leonard.

Colts offense

Hilton has 12 receptions and two receiving touchdowns in the first two games of the year.

Frank Reich has made a name in the NFL as a coach because of his ability to adapt and tailor his game plans from week-to-week. The Colts used a heavy diet of pick plays against man-to-man coverage that caught the Redskins off guard.  Washington has several corners, including Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, who excel in press man coverage and the pick routes used by the Colts allowed their quick-twitched receivers to roam free over the middle of the field and took away the Redskins’ strong suit of jamming receivers at the line. T.Y. Hilton, the Colts star receiver, was the beneficiary of the game plan and from the first drive of the game it was clear that the Colts plan of attack centered on getting Norman off of his body.  To begin the second quarter, Luck bought Hilton in motion from the right sideline to the numbers and immediately snapped the ball, which gave the Pro Bowl receiver more room to work with on his post route against Norman, who couldn’t jam the receiver at the line. Hilton finished with seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown against Washington.

Redskins offense

If the Colts offense was original, the Redskins offense was vanilla and predictable.  The Redskins  finished with just 65 rushing yards and 269 passing yards, the bulk of which came in garbage time. Washington thrived in Week 1 with a balanced running attack but as has been the case in Jay Gruden’s tenure, the team has a tendency to abandon the run for no obvious reason.  The team’s receivers aren’t at the level to carry their offense and struggled against the Colts cornerbacks to get separation in their routes.  Look for Washington to get back to a more balanced attack against Green Bay as Gruden may open the game with a deep ball or two to loosen up the Packers secondary.

 

2018 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: AFC South

AFC South

Houston Texans
Akins (No. 88 pictured) averaged 16.1 yards per catch in 2017 for the Knights.

Notable picks: The team expects big returns for Reid in the third round. The Texans pass defense finished 24th in the league a year ago. Rankin may have gone higher if he was an inch taller. Akins and Thomas both address a need for the Texans after the retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
3 (68) Justin

Reid

S-6’0 207

Stanford 140 (3rd Round) Reid proved capable of playing multiple positions for the Cardinal. In addition, he knew the responsibilities of every position on defense. He has to improve as a one-on-one tackler.
3 (80) Martinas

Rankin

C-6’4 308

Mississippi St. 86 (3rd Round) Rankin earned significant time at the left tackle spot in school and there is a possibility that his patient approach can succeed at an interior line spot.
3 (98) Jordan

Akins

TE-6’4 249

UCF 216 (4th Round) Akins has the foot speed to stretch the seams of the field. In 2015, he was the Knights No. 1 wide receiver before going down to injury. His durability is a concern.
4 (103) KeKe

Coutee

WR-5’10 181

Texas Tech 164 (4th Round) This is a sign to former Ohio State Buckeye Braxton Miller that his time may be up. Coutee will have to play stronger.
6 (177) Duke

Ejiofor

DE-6’4 264

Wake Forest 116 (3rd Round) Ejiofor is a sleek pass rusher with enough flexibility to win from a number of spots. A good bit of his sack production came from the defensive tackle spot.   He has to play bigger.
6 (211) Jordan

Thomas

TE-6’4 269

Mississippi State 356 (5th Round) Despite weighing in the 270-pound range, Thomas started at an outside WR position late in his career. He did not embarrass himself at the WR spot during 2018 East-West Shrine practices.
6 (214) Peter

Kalambayi

OLB-6’3 236

Stanford 214 (4th Round) Kalambayi was dinged by some scouts for his lack of flexibility. Nevertheless, he used his 80-inch wingspan  to post 18 QB sacks in his career.
7 (222) Jermaine

Kelly

CB-6’1 195

San Jose St.,

Washington

488 (6th Round) Kelly –a former Washington Husky- has good field speed. He won quite a bit at the gunner position for the Spartans and improved gradually in 2017 at CB.

 

Indianapolis Colts
Nelson (No. 56 pictured) often wins in the second phase of his run blocks. He posted 36 career starts for the Fighting Irish.

Notable picks: The Colts made sure they didn’t waste time turning in the card for Nelson. The selection of Smith in the second round means the team is serious about beefing up its offensive front. Leonard’s presence adds speed to the league’s 26th-ranked rushing defense.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (6) Quenton

Nelson

OG-6’5 325

Notre Dame 7 (1st Round) Nelson may have been one of the highest ranked players on the Colts board in terms of value and need. He will create movement in the running game.
2 (36) Darius

Leonard

LB-6’2 234

S.C. State 31 (2nd Round) Leonard –a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year- combines a rangy style with plus instincts.
2 (37) Braden

Smith

OG-6’6 315

Auburn 90 (3rd Round) Has the size of an OT and dabbles there on occasion.   Consistent, if unspectacular.
2 (52) Kemoko

Turay

OLB-6’4 252

Rutgers 122 (3rd Round) All the agility is in place.  He has been a terror blocking kicks.  Still rounding out his game as a pass rusher.
2 (64) Trade from Cleveland Tyquan

Lewis

DE-6’3 265

Ohio State 108 (3rd Round) Burly brawler who will win with power and run over offensive linemen. Tone-setter.
4 (103) Nyheim

Hines

RB/KR-5’8 198

NC State 276 (4th Round) Hines will be counted on to provide punch in the kickoff return game.
5 (159) Daurice

Fountain

WR-6’1 210

Northern Iowa 168 (4th Round) In somewhat of an under the radar pick, the Colts stole the MVP of the 2018 East-West Shrine Game.
5 (169) Jordan

Wilkins

RB-6’1 216

Ole Miss 178 (4th Round) Wilkins has a smooth style and plays faster than his 4.71 time at the 2018 NFL Combine suggests. His performance in a blowout vs. Alabama turned heads.
6 (185) Deon

Cain

WR-6’2 202

Clemson 179 (4th Round) Like Fountain, Cain will be asked to stretch the outside lanes of the field with his 4.4 speed. Consistency will be the focus for the junior-entry.
7 (221) Matthew

Adams

LB-6’1 229

Houston 207 (4th Round) Perhaps no player better exemplifies a downhill approach better than Adams. He is faster than quick and needs to improve his flexibility.
7 (235) Zaire

Franklin

LB-6’0 239

Syracuse 153 (3rd Round) Much like Adams (see above), there are questions in coverage. Also like Adams, he loves to run and hit people.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars
Chark averaged 21.9 yards per catch for LSU in 2017.

Notable picks:  Bryan will be a significant rotational piece from Day 1.  Richardson adds a measure of physicality to the team’s downhill run game.  Chark will be asked to take the top off of defenses to open up the middle of the field for Marqise Lee.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (29) Taven

Bryan

DL-6’5 291

Florida 51 (2nd Round) Bryan has a rare combination of strength and speed.   Can he locate the ball with more consistency? Even if he doesn’t, he’ll complement the Jaguars other DL with his activity.
2 (61) DJ

Chark

WR-6’3 199

LSU 70 (3rd Round) The departures of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson necessitated another move to complement the re-signed Marqise Lee.
3 (93) Ronnie

Harrison

S-6’2 207

Alabama 136 (3rd Round) Harrison brings a load in the back end with his downhill approach. While his ball skills are competent, his angles are hit-or-miss.
4 (129) Will

Richardson

OT-6’5 322

NC State 131 (3rd Round) For a team that values run blocking, there wasn’t a better lineman on the board than the mammoth road-grading Richardson in the fourth round.
6 (203) Tanner

Lee

QB-6’4 218

Nebraska, Tulane 373 (5th Round) Despite an inordinate number of turnovers, Lee still passed for over 3,000 yards and 23 TDs in 2017.
6 (230) Leon

Jacobs

LB-6’3 246

Wisconsin 234 (4th Round) Jacobs never really took off for the Badgers until 2017. He has an impressive combination of 4.48 speed and power (26 reps-225 lbs.) at nearly 250 pounds.
7 (247) Logan

Cooke

P-6’5 228

Mississippi State 558 (6th Round) He proves capable of generating hang times in the 4.6-range while kicking for distance and direction (BYU ’17).

 

Tennessee Titans Notable pick: Falk could challenge incumbent Blaine Gabbert for the backup job behind Marcus Mariota. If so, the team will have two of the Pac-12’s all-time leading touchdown producers.
Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (22) Rashaan

Evans

LB-6’3 232

Alabama 45 (2nd Round) Evans’ work off the edge was nearly as impressive as his underrated contributions on special teams. He may be long enough to man an outside linebacker spot.
2 (41) Harold

Landry

OLB-6’2 252

Boston

College

11 (1st Round) Contains underrated agility and change of direction. Forced 10 fumbles in school.
5 (152) Dane

Cruikshank

DB-6’1 209

Arizona 87 (3rd Round) Cruikshank ventured from the junior college ranks to become one of the draft’s best-kept secrets. His 4.41 speed will be an additive to a defense full of young playmakers.
6 (199) Luke

Falk

QB-6’4 215

Washington

State

141 (3rd Round) The Pac-12’s all-time leading passer threw for 119 touchdowns while completing 68.3% of his passes in college. Will his arm strength translate to the NFL?