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Why Laiatu Latu Would Be a Good Fit for the Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts would be wise to select a top edge rusher in the 2024 NFL Draft and UCLA's Laiatu Latu would be a good fit.
Laiatu Latu

The Indianapolis Colts hold the 15th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and selecting UCLA’s edge rusher Laiatu Latu with a mid-pack pick would be ideal. Since Robert Mathis retired in 2017, the Colts have been inconsistent at the edge rusher position. Latu can change that as he possesses the tools and traits to help this defense become elite.

The Colts managed a franchise-high 51 sacks in 2023, but they still do not have a true pass-rushing threat. Veteran defensive tackle DeForest Buckner will be back to wreak havoc in the middle of the line. There is also hope that defensive tackle Grover Stewart will be back as well in the middle. Therefore, if the Colts can land 6-4, 265-pound Laiatu Latu at the end of the line, the sky is the limit for this defensive front.

Why Laiatu Latu Would Be a Good Fit for the Indianapolis Colts

His Resume at UCLA Speaks for Itself

Laiatu Latu started his career at Washinton as a true freshman in 2019. In 2020 and 2021, he would be sidelined with a terrible preseason neck injury that threatened his football career. Nonetheless, Latu was determined to play football again. Eventually, he would join the UCLA Bruins in 2022 and become one of the league’s top pass rushers. In two years with UCLA, he produced 23.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 34 tackles of loss. He ranked eighth in all of the NCAA in sacks in 2022 with 10.5  sacks and tied for fourth in 2023 with 13 sacks.

As well as Latu’s being a high-production pass rusher, he has also been the recipient of numerous awards. He was the 2023 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He also received the Ted Hendrick’s Award and the Vince Lombardi Award in 2023. The previous winners of the Vince Lombardi Award include the 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. and the 2022 NFL Rookie of the Year Adian Hutchinson. Latu’s 2023 season at UCLA was his best as he made a name for himself in college football history.

His Game-Changing Abilities

Game-changing plays on the defensive line include turnovers, pressure on the quarterback, and tackles for loss. In his last season with UCLA, Latu achieved those game-changing plays on an explosive scale. In the 12 games he played in 2023, he racked up 21.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He would rank first in all of the NCAA in tackles for loss by a single player in 2023. If the Indianapolis Colts can get a playmaker like Laiatu Latu, it would help set the tone on defense. In the NFL, games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage on offense and defense.

His Fit Within the Defensive Line

As mentioned, the Colts have two good tackles in the middle of the line in DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart. Indy also has two good linebackers in Zaire Franklin and E.J. Speed. The only position that is continually inconsistent is the edge rusher position. This is where Laiatu Latu would fit perfectly for the Colts. He is big, strong, and quick. Therefore coupling his abilities with the veterans already on the line will take pressure off of the young secondary and put pressure, where it needs to be, on opposing offenses.

Main Photo: [Alex Gallardo] – USA Today Sports


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