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2024 NFL Draft - Round 1

Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS – Shockingly, the Colts ended up making the first defensive selection in the entire draft at No. 15 overall.

With the 15th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Colts took UCLA defensive end Laiatu Latu in Round One.

Here are 3 takeaways on Latu:


Elite Pass Rush Production

Regardless of position, Latu was one of the most productive players in all of college football last season. Latu (6-4 and 259) had 24.0 combined sacks the last two years and 35.5 tackles for loss. He led all of college football with 21.5 tackles for loss las season. Not known as some crazy elite testing guy or having rare length for the position, Latu’s known for his pass rushing technique more than anything. Much development shouldn’t be needed with Latu, which is not something you typically say about college pass rushers. For a Colts team that struggled mightily in consistent, and timely, pressure last season, having a potential closer in Latu is a critical ingredient in neutralizing a pass happy NFL.


Medical Questions

There are definite medical questions about Latu, and he is one of the older prospects in the draft, turning 24 years old on New Year’s Eve. Latu began his college career at Washington before a neck injury in practice forced him to miss the 2020 season, and he actually medically retired from football in 2021. But after clearance from doctors, Latu enrolled at UCLA in 2022 and didn’t miss a game in his final 2 seasons of college football. Given the Colts depth along the defensive line, they likely won’t have to start Latu, but can obviously commit to him playing consistently in their pass rush package. Remember, late in the year, the Colts took Kwity Paye out of their pass rush package and put Tyquan Lewis into it, alongside Samson Ebukam, DeForest Buckner and Dayo Odeyingbo, so the rookie could (should?) join that trio in 2024.


Edge Rush Swing

For me, edge rusher was more of a need than most coming into the draft. It’s a premium position that needs continued investment, even if the current depth chart looks pretty set. The Colts have missed quite often with high draft picks here, but that should not strike fear in straying away from continuing to try and find the coveted answers here. This pick could very well indicate the Colts will not pick up Kwity Paye’s 5th year option, which is due next week (for the 2025 season). Unlike Paye, or even Kemoko Turay, this pass rush selection is a guy with massive collegiate production.


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