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It’s no longer a secret that the Indianapolis Colts feel that they’ve hit the lottery with a couple of their recent draft picks. Rookies Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson have been major contributors for the team in a season that was seen as just another step in the rebuild of the roster.To some extent that’s still true. However , neither Leonard or Nelson have played like rookies. Not even good rookies. They’ve been putting together some seriously impressive performances worthy of being very good NFL pros regardless of tenure.It’s not an ‘award’ but Jeff Legwold — senior writer for ESPN — has recognized the duo as being two of the top 10 rookies in the league to this point in the season. Sportscenter on FacebookLeonard has missed a game this season, but still leads the league in total tackles with 122, and has a nice little cushion over the next highest total of 106 tackles which is shared by, both, Miami’s Kiko Alonso and Green Bay’s Blake Martinez. Leonard is also tied for the team lead in sacks (6), has forced 4 fumbles (team high), and is third on the team in tackles for loss as well.Nelson has also taken the league by storm. As an interior lineman, Nelson has been a key cog in the Colts’ offensive line seeing a much improved season, and has undoubtedly assisted in Andrew Luck’s impressive season.Nelson was seen as a ‘can’t miss’ lineman in the 2018 NFL draft, but many struggled to give him the credit for being the right pick for Chris Ballard simply due to his positional value. Within Ballard’s vision of constructing this roster Josh Ferguson Jersey , though, it appears to have been a no-brainer on his part. Nelson has been very good in protection, and is often the first player down the field on running plays. His draw comes from his nature of being a bully in the trenches as well as his athletic ability to pull and open up running lanes on the perimeter. So far, Nelson has proved to be a fantastic pick for the second-year Colts’ GM.Leonard was seen in another light, though, after he was selected by the Colts. He wasn’t seen as a good pick — at all. He was often reviewed as one of the worst picks, not just by the Colts, but by any team in the entire draft. His being selected in the second round was the main reason for this blowback, but Leonard has more than quieted the critics with his all-around play in his rookie campaign.As Leonard sits at second on Legwold’s list, this is pretty par for the course among NFL analysts right now and he has a very legitimate possibility for taking home defensive rookie of the year honors. For Nelson T.J. Green Color Rush Jersey , only Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley and Phillip Lindsay sit above him on this rookie list on the offensive side of the ball, thus, it appears equally possible for him to be heavily in the mix for the offensive rookie of the year award as well. Any way you choose to look at it, the Colts have a very productive rookie class this year, and Leonard and Nelson are the clear front-runners at positions in which the Colts desperately needed difference making players on their respective sides of the ball. It looks like Ballard may know what he’s doing. In a game where the Colts could do no wrong they came away with their most dominating victory of the season. Heading into halftime I assumed this game would end up being close. The Cowboys dominated time of possession and looked to have had several unlucky breaks. As it turns out, they may have had some bad luck, but the Colts were also executing at a very high level. Each week, I look to break down two of the best or worst plays or situations from the previous game, but I rely on the help of the Stampede Blue community to decide what plays should be given a closer look as I hope to explain what happened in greater detail than the broadcasters can. Often you’ll hear “how did that guy get so open?” and I hope to be able to answer that question for Colts fans this season. This week my vote is going to how the Colts stopped the Cowboys fourth down plays throughout the course of the game. It will mean more work for me , the Cowboys tried and tried again, but truly the Colts defense coming up big on those fourth down stops had the biggest impact of the day. There will be a lot to choose from for the second choice this week; any one of Marlon Mack’s impressive runs, T.Y. Hilton’s over the shoulder catch while sliding down, any of the defense’s sacks of Dak Prescott. There were a lot of good plays but this game was over after halftime. Let me know in the comments if I missed any plays!Also, yes the officials weren’t great. No I’m not going to take a look at penalties but that might make a good article, just not this one. Also, also, Cowboys fans aren’t great losers so I’m going to enjoy looking at this game again and counting the ways our Colts stopped Dak Prescott.
1/11/2019 11:13:45 PMQuote    Edit/Delete
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