Pro Football Focus named both Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and special teamer George Odum to its PFF 2020 NFL All-Pro Team, while running back Jonathan Taylor earned a spot on the popular advanced grade web site’s All-Rookie Team this season respectively:
DI AARON DONALD, LOS ANGELES RAMS
Second Team: DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts
ST GEORGE ODUM, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Second Team: Cody Davis, New England Patriots
Colts special teams ace George Odum has been the best special teamer all season long, playing extensive snaps across five different phases of special teams play. Odum notched 13 solo tackles and an assist without giving away a penalty.
RB JONATHAN TAYLOR, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
There were several rookie running backs who had strong first seasons —making this position a difficult one to nail down to just one player — but the way that Taylor finished the regular season for Indianapolis is what earned first-team honors.
From Week 11 through the end of the regular season, Taylor’s 91.2 rushing grade ranked second in the league to Derrick Henry. His 33 missed tackles forced on the ground fell behind only Henry and Nick Chubb over that same stretch. It wasn’t always pretty early on, but Taylor started to find his footing in this run game as the season progressed.
Taylor’s receiving ability — not something that was considered a strength coming out of Wisconsin — was a pleasant surprise, as well. He led all rookie running backs in PFF receiving grade (73.3), and he dropped just one of his 38 targets on the year. Continuing to develop that part of his game will be big heading into 2021.
Regarding Buckner, the reigning All-Pro was an absolute interior force for the Colts, and he was worth every dollar and the first round pick Indianapolis spent to acquire him this past offseason—if not much more.
Buckner finished with 58 tackles (37 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 53 total QB pressures, 16 QB hits, 3 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a safety during 15 games (14 starts) in 2020.
Per PFF, Buckner earned a +89.7 overall grade (4th best among interior defenders)—which included a +90.2 pass rushing grade.
His 9.5 sacks were the most by a defensive tackle during a single-season in Colts franchise history—and he’s already the best player to lace them up at that position all-time in Indianapolis. No question.
Buckner was shockingly (and foolishly) snubbed for the Pro Bowl, but he should receive strong consideration for AP All-Pro honors during 2020—in addition to this PFF All-Pro nod.
Being behind only super-freak Aaron Donald here isn’t a bad thing, as Buckner’s still a defensive monster for the Colts.
Meanwhile, another Pro Bowl snub was Colts safety and special teams standout George Odum, who led the NFL in special teams tackles (20)—when no one else had more than 16 such tackles. For what it’s worth, PFF gave Odum a +91.2 special teams grade in 2020.
It’s a shame Pro Bowl voters went purely on name recognition and voted in New England Patriots’ 9x Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater again because no disrespect to Slater, but Odum was the most deserving player this year.
Lastly, there’s Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor, who finished the season with the NFL’s 3rd most rushing yards at 1,169—which also led all rookies during 2020. Taylor averaged 5.0 ypc. on a workhorse’s 232 total carries and also had 11 touchdowns.
He also fared much better as a pass catcher and blocker than initially anticipated.
Other than the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry, no NFL running back was hotter from Week 11 on than Taylor—who consistently flashed his dynamic combination of speed, power, and vision that made him one of the most accomplished rushers in NCAA history coming out of Wisconsin and a top running back prospect.
He ran fast and furiously during the majority of the season’s second half and recently carried the Colts to the playoffs in the season finale—in what was an absolutely monstrous career game.
During 2020, Taylor received a +83.9 offensive grade from PFF, which was the 7th best among all league running backs.
All three Colts were well deserving of such individual recognition. However, call me ‘ole fashioned’, but I am still a little surprised not to see perennial All-Pros Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard on such a PFF ‘All-Pro Team’.
Maybe next year though.