NFL Draft Round 1 Grades: Laiatu Latu gives Colts an elite defense

It wasn't MHJ, but Latu may be the next best thing for Indy.
UCLA v USC / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

After months of speculation about what the Colts would do with their first round pick in this weekend's NFL Draft, fans in Indy finally got their answer.

Picking at 15th overall, Indy opted to address their defense, like most predicted they would. The one "twist" was that it wasn't in the secondary, with GM Chris Ballard instead deciding to take UCLA star pass rusher Laiatu Latu. The Colts quite literally had every defensive player on the board to choose from, and they came away with an elite pass rusher who figures to make an immediate impact on their line. Here's how the decision grades out, for now at least:

Laiatu Latu gives Colts an elite defense

Round 1, Pick 15: . A. UCLA. . Laiatu Latu, EDGE

Latu was the first defensive player off the board, which is kinda wild considering he went halfway through the first round. But he was widely considered the best edge rusher in the draft, and the Colts didn't have to move anywhere to get him. He had prolific sack numbers in college, finishing with 15 last season.

And while the Colts already had a pretty formidable front, they didn't have that elite edge rusher last year. Samson Ebukam led the team with 9.5 sacks, and they had three other guys with at least eight. It's a bit much to expect Latu to have 15 sacks in his rookie season, but the Colts' defensive line is not messing around. They're going to be able to rush the passer from a variety of different spots, and there really isn't a weakness up front for them anymore.

There's certainly more work to do this weekend, but the Colts knocked their one first round pick out of the park.