Experts predict big rookie season for Laiatu Latu

This would be best-case scenario for Colts fans questioning the pick.
Indianapolis Colts, Laiatu Latu
Indianapolis Colts, Laiatu Latu / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now just about two weeks removed from the 2024 NFL Draft, rookie edge rusher Laiatu Latu is settling in as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

At pick no. 15, the Colts could have gone a variety of routes. But, they went with their gut and took a guy they believed to be the best player on their board, Laiatu Latu.

For every Colts fan who was excited about the pick, there was also one who wasn't as thrilled. And, to an extent, any worries do indeed come justified. Latu enters the league with some serious medical concerns, and it would be foolish to say we shouldn't worry about them.

However, if you were to ask some of the experts out there, Latu is in for a huge rookie season. In fact, some experts over at ESPN recently wrote about their belief for Latu to finish as the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year this coming season.

If these experts are right, then Laiatu Latu will have put all worries to bed

Here are a couple of excerpts from each ESPN columnist regarding their pick for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year:

Seth Walder:

"He was selected as the first defensive player, despite his medical concerns, so I like him even more as the defender to bet on here. Last season, he led the FBS in pressure rate at edge (22%) and in sacks created (17) -- which credits the player who first earns pressure on a play that eventually becomes a sack."

Jason Reid:

"He is elite in both technique and talent. Latu is equally efficient against the run and at pursuing the passer. The Colts are getting a relentless player who totaled 34 tackles for losses and 23.5 sacks in the past two seasons for UCLA."

The raw production cannot be denied. Reid is correct. His tackles for loss and sacks, in just two seasons, look like video game numbers. And, for a guy who was medically retired prior to accomplishing what he did? That's truly remarkable.

Latu comes in as the most aggressive, polished, pure pass rusher this draft had to offer. The Colts definitely took a chance, but if it pans out, Latu could take this defense to championship-type heights.