The Associated Press announced its 2021 All-Pros on Friday, and the Colts had three players earn First-Team honors:
Jonathan Taylor was a unanimous First-Team AP All-Pros after leading the NFL in almost every rushing category – and it wasn't particularly close.
Taylor's league-leading 1,811 rushing yards were 552 more than gained by the Browns' Nick Chubb, who finished second in the NFL in rushing. Taylor's 18 rushing touchdowns were three more than the two players with the second-most in 2021.
And at the age of 22, Taylor became the youngest player in NFL history with at least 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns in a single season.
Taylor's 20 total touchdowns were tied for the league lead, and also equaled the Colts' franchise record set by Hall of Famer Lenny Moore in 1964. Taylor set new franchise records in 2021 for rushing yards, rushing yards per carry (5.5) and rushing touchdowns.
Taylor is the first Colts running back since Edgerrin James in 1999 to be named a First-Team AP All-Pro. He was one of five players to be unanimously chosen as 2021 First-Team All-Pros, joining Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Darius Leonard led the Colts' ballhawking defense with eight forced fumbles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries along with 122 tackles, four pass break-ups and three tackles for a loss. Leonard led the league with those eight forced fumbles and became the only player in NFL history to have eight or more forced fumbles and four or more interceptions in a single season.
Leonard, too, is the only player in NFL history with 10 or more interceptions, 15 or more sacks and 15 or more forced fumbles in the first five years of a career. Leonard, of course, just wrapped up only his fourth season in the NFL.
With 538 tackles, Leonard will enter Year 5 tied with Robert Mathis for the eighth-most tackles in Colts history. Leonard joins teammate Quenton Nelson and Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jim Parker as the only players in franchise history to earn First-Team All-Pro honors in three of his first four seasons.
Luke Rhodes earned the first Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro nods of his six-year career, spent all with the Colts. Rhodes appeared in 16 of 17 games for the Colts in 2021 and was key in keeping the team's kicking game on track after Rodrigo Blankenship was placed on injured reserve and replaced with Michael Badgley in Week 6. Rhodes was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2020.
Left guard Quenton Nelson and special teams ace Ashton Dulin earned Second-Team AP All-Pro honors while center Ryan Kelly, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, special teamer Matthew Adams and special teamer E.J. Speed all received All-Pro votes.
Of note, no running back earned second-team AP All-Pro honors because every single vote went to Taylor.
The updated list of First-Team AP All-Pros in Colts history:
- Alan Ameche (1955)
- Raymond Berry (1958-1960)
- Cary Blanchard (1996)
- Bobby Boyd (1964, 1965, 1968)
- DeForest Buckner (2020)
- Dallas Clark (2009)
- Mike Curtis (1968, 1969)
- Milt Davis (1957)
- Eric Dickerson (1987, 1988)
- Art Donovan (1954-1957)
- John Dutton (1976)
- Dwight Freeney (2004, 2005, 2009)
- Chris Gardocki (1996)
- Marvin Harrison (1999, 2002, 2006)
- Ted Hendricks (1971)
- Edgerrin James (1999)
- Bert Jones (1976)
- Tom Keane (1953)
- George Kunz (1975)
- Darius Leonard (2018, 2020, 2021)
- Gene Lipscomb (1958, 1959)
- John Mackey (1966-1968)
- Peyton Manning (2003-2005, 2008, 2009)
- Gino Marchetti (1957-1962, 1964)
- Robert Mathis (2013)
- Tom Matte (1969)
- Pat McAfee (2014)
- Lenny Moore (1958-1961, 1964)
- Earl Morrall (1968)
- Andy Nelson (1959)
- Quenton Nelson (2018-2020)
- George Odum (2020)
- Jimmy Orr (1965)
- Jim Parker (1958-1965)
- Luke Rhodes (2021)
- Willie Richardson (1967)
- Bob Sanders (2005, 2007)
- Jeff Saturday (2005, 2007)
- Bubba Smith (1971)
- Rohn Stark (1983)
- Jonathan Taylor (2021)
- Johnny Unitas (1958, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1967)
- Mike Vanderjagt (2003)
- Adam Vinatieri (2014)
- Bob Vogel (1969)
- Rick Volk (1971)
- Reggie Wayne (2010)