When you play on the Ravens defense, it’s easy to get overlooked. But, Jim Leonhard has been overlooked before. I have had the privilage of watching Leonhard play safety since his days at University of Wisconsin when he was a walk on. Back then, Leonhard was breaking up passes, intercepting balls, and making open field tackles until he finally earned a scholarship. Now, after 4 years in the NFL, Leonhard is playing for one of the best defenses in the NFL and playing well.
Leonhard played well during the regular season, but nothing spectacular 69 tackles and 1 interception (1 touchdown, too.) However, it is during the post season that Leonhard has truly shined. In two games at the safety position, Leonhard has 12 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery. He has been all over the field, making crucial plays when needed. In the divisional game against Tennessee, on an important 3rd down for the Titans, Leonhard blitzed, shed a block, and made the tackle for a loss to force Tennessee to punt. While Tennessee was driving in Baltimore territory, Leonhard recovered a fumble to stop the Titans from scoring.
On a defense that is known for Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, and Samari Rolle, Leonhard is carving a niche for himself. With Lewis, Reed, and Rolle all over 30, Jimmy Leonhard is the player of the future on that scary Ravens D. Look for #36 on the field next weekend in the AFC Championship, I’m sure he’ll be making plays.