Colts take Ohio State OLB Darron Lee in recent mock draft

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Sep 19, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Darron Lee (43) returns the interception for a touchdown in front of Northern Illinois Huskies tight end Desroy Maxwell (7) and wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (10) during the second half at Ohio Stadium. The Ohio State Buckeyes won 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Darron Lee (43) returns the interception for a touchdown in front of Northern Illinois Huskies tight end Desroy Maxwell (7) and wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (10) during the second half at Ohio Stadium. The Ohio State Buckeyes won 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Indianapolis Colts have plenty of holes to fill in the draft and a recent mock bucks the trend of bolstering the offensive line by taking an outside linebacker.

The Colts list of needs seems to get bigger nearly every time you look at the roster. Nearly every position on each side of the ball could use a new starter or some quality depth. While most of the mock drafts out there are focused on the offensive line, which has been a problem for four years now, there are arguably bigger needs on defense.

Over at NFL.com, Lance Zierlein has the Colts taking an outside linebacker to help fill a defensive need. He has them selecting Ohio State OLB Darron Lee. Here are his thoughts on the pick:

"While the Colts could use offensive line help as well, Lee is the type of athlete and playmaker that the Colts are sorely missing on that side of the ball."

Lee is certainly a hell of a player, and “playmaker” might be putting it mildly here. He garnered national attention after being named Defensive MVP in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama in 2015 prior to the National Championship. Lee had seven tackles, three for a loss, and two sacks that night.

Lee would bring a ton of speed to the Colts defense that is slow at times (ran a 4.47 40-yard dash) and some much needed coverage skills at linebacker. He played a bit of a hybrid position of what Pro Football Focus called a “slot linebacker/safety.” That kind of play style led to this:

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Lee might be the type of linebacker who can actually defend some of the versatile tight ends that have plagued the Colts in recent years. He is the sort of linebacker that is starting to excel in the pass happy NFL, but there are questions about his strength and his over aggressiveness that causes him to miss tackles at times.

Ohio State used Lee in a way that highlighted his best attributes, but this also protected him from things like playing in the box. That means there are questions about his take-on abilities and whether or not he could last in the trenches. A team in the NFL won’t be able to hide his flaws with scheme packages if he is going to be a full time starter.

Every draft profile lists him as a weakside linebacker who would need to add size to play any other position. But Lee has shown that he can be effective when it comes to stopping the run, in coverage, or blitzing. If he adds size and can develop just a bit more, Lee will turn into a very talented linebacker who can do it all in the NFL.

As for the Colts, Lee would be switching from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 and end up being Erik Walden‘s backup for now. Considering Lee’s coverage abilities, he’d likely get on the field for obvious passing downs and could blitz or drop back in coverage. That is the sort of versatility a good 3-4 scheme needs and one the Colts really don’t have right now.

This would be a good pick, if Lee lasts that long. Most rankings have him near the top 10, and it might be a stretch for the Colts to find Lee at 18. If he’s available, Lee gives the defense a lot of diversity that they are sorely lacking.

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