- Darius Leonard’s ankle surgery could fix his problems from 2020, and he’s a favorite to lead the league in tackles.
- Zach Cunningham has the second-favored odds (+700) after leading the league in tackles during 2020.
HOUSTON - Zach Cunningham is the reigning tackle king of the NFL, with 164 tackles in 2020. This was the highest number of tackles since Bobby Wagner’s 167 in 2016, and was a high note for Cunningham personally.
The problem is that nobody since 1992 - when Jessie Tuggle led the league for the third time consecutively - has led the league in tackles for two years in a row.
Cunningham isn't the favorite though, as Darius Leonard leads the NFL odds.
2021 NFL Season Odds - Most Tackles
- Darius Leonard +600
- Blake Martinez +700
- Zach Cunningham +700
- Bobby Wagner +800
- Roquan Smith +900
- Fred Warner +1500
- Eric Kendricks +1600
- Devin White +1600
- Joe Schobert +1800
It would take a lot for Cunningham to earn that streak, although he is an immensely talented player who gets a lot of tackle opportunities due to the problems with the Texans' defense.
Still, Darius Leonard stands in his way.
Nicknamed Maniac, Leonard burst onto the scene in 2018, when he led the league in tackles with 163. Since then, he’s fallen a bit short, with 2019’s campaign yielding 121 tackles, and 2020’s campaign yielding 132 tackles.
However, Leonard only played 13 games in 2019, and in 2020, he only played 14.
It’s worth noting that his average number of tackles per game (16 in 2018) has gone down as well (14 in 2020). With added worry about an offseason ankle surgery, Maniac was out of training camp for at least the first week.
Colts LB Darius Leonard is expected to miss the start of training camp after undergoing ankle surgery in June. https://t.co/rVyqtNggMq
— TheColtsWire (@TheColtsWire) July 27, 2021
If he makes a full recovery, he could be back to his 2018 form. The downside is that he’s still a potential injury risk, and he won’t have a full camp coming into the season.
Time will tell whether or not Leonard will be able to lead the league in tackles once again, but the online sportsbooks have faith in him.
Maxwell joined the USAOnlineSportsbooks team in 2019. He focuses on creating sports betting content that informs and educates. He focuses on the NBA, the NFL, College Football and Basketball, and whatever else comes across his desk.