INDIANAPOLIS —After going offense with their first-round pick, the Indianapolis Colts went to the defensive side of the ball to start their haul of second-round choices in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Colts tonight selected South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard with the 36th-overall selection; the fourth pick in the second round.
Leonard — who measures in at 6-foot-2 and weighs 234 pounds — looks to immediately compete for a starting job at one of the three linebacker spots in the Colts' new 4-3 base defense under coordinator Matt Eberflus.
After not receiving any stars in the high school recruiting scene, Leonard had a chance to walk-on at Clemson, but instead decided to play for the FCS Bulldogs. He redshirted his true freshman year, but started the next four seasons, two of which ended in MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Last season, as a redshirt senior, Leonard compiled 114 total tackles — 12 of which were for a loss — while also earning 8.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and two interceptions.
He finished his career at South Carolina State as the school's all-time leader in tackles with 394.
For more on this developing story, be sure to check back with Colts.com; but for now, here's NFL.com’s Draft Profile on Leonard:
Long and twitchy with athletic ability and straight-line speed that should light up the combine. Leonard has packed on the pounds since hitting campus, but it hasn't compromised his play speed as he has posted dominant production throughout. He lacks play strength and there are times you want to see more nasty in his field demeanor, but he has the traits and talent to become a good, three-down linebacker who can play 3-4 inside backer or 4-3 WILL.