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Four Colts Land Inside CBS Sports' Top 100 Players For 2022

Key cornerstones on both sides of the football for the Indianapolis Colts landed inside CBS Sports' top 100 player rankings.

After a busy offseason that saw the Indianapolis Colts plug a lot of holes on the roster, one thing is clear: the depth chart under GM Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich is stocked with high-caliber talent. 

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco seems to agree, placing four Colts inside his top 100 player rankings for the 2022 season on Tuesday. 

Though all four names seem obvious, one key name was missing from the list, which will certainly raise eyebrows. More on that later. 

First up on the Prisco's top 100 for the Colts is star running back Jonathan Taylor, who landed at No. 24 overall, becoming the second running back in the rankings behind Tennessee Titans' star Derrick Henry. 

"He led the NFL in rushing with 1,811 yards and averaged 5.4 per rush," Prisco writes regarding Taylor's ranking. "He also rushed for 18 touchdowns after scoring 11 in 2020. He is now considered one of the two top backs in the league."

Realistically, Taylor should be Prisco's top-ranked running back in the league, especially after Henry missed much of the 2021 season with an injury. 

Taylor was a true workhorse last season, carrying the Colts at an MVP level as former quarterback Carson Wentz struggled in the passing game, making Indianapolis one-dimensional offensively. 

There's no doubt he's a top 25 player in the league, but he should be the top back too. 

After Taylor, star left guard Quenton Nelson cracks the rankings at No. 37 overall, making him the second guard in the rankings behind Dallas Cowboys veteran Zach Martin, and just the fifth lineman overall in Prisco's rankings behind San Francisco tackle Trent Williams, Miami tackle Terron Armstead and Tampa Bay tackle Tristan Wirfs. 

"He remains one of the best inside players in the league," Prisco writes of Nelson. "He is physical and nasty, but also does a nice job in pass protection. He is a big reason Jonathan Taylor led the league in rushing."

Nelson is in line for a rather large extension and remains the cream of the crop in the NFL in the trenches. 

Behind Nelson, All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard landed at No. 40 overall in Prisco's rankings, becoming the second off-ball linebacker in his rankings behind San Francisco's Fred Warner. 

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Leonard has made NFL history to this point in his career, landing on the first our second team All-Pro list each of his first four years in the league. 

"He is the perfect style of linebacker for this era of football," Prisco writes. "He isn't big, but he can run and chase and he's great in causing turnovers. He had four picks last season."

Prisco is spot-on with his assessment of Leonard, as he is an ideal fit for today's game. He fell to the second round due to his size concerns, but he's quickly put those to rest in his career. He's a sideline-to-sideline "maniac" and has a knack for punching the ball loose upon reaching the ball career. 

Much like Nelson, Leonard is on a Hall of Fame trajectory at this point in his career. 

Finally, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner was the final Colts' player to land in Prisco's top 100, ranking No. 81 overall. 

"In his second season with the Colts after coming over from San Francisco, he wasn't as productive," Prisco writes. "His sacks fell from 9.5 to seven. He was still really good, but maybe just a tad behind the year before."

In 32 games with the Colts, Buckner has 16.5 sacks, which is rather remarkable as an interior defensive tackle in former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus's system. He remains stout against the run and pairs rather nicely with Grover Stewart, giving the Colts two massive men in the middle of a rebuilt defensive line. 

Obviously, that means slot cornerback Kenny Moore II didn't make the top 100, which is a bit surprising. However, Prisco listed not only Moore, but quarterback Matt Ryan and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue as honorable mentions for the Colts, meaning Indianapolis is rather deep and should have a high ceiling this season, barring injury.

Have thoughts on CBS Sports' top 100 players rankings for the 2022 season by Pete Prisco? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!


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