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Colts draft UCLA edge Laiatu Latu at No. 15 overall in 2024 NFL Draft

Following a record run of offensive selections, the Indianapolis Colts busted the streak with one of the 2024 NFL Draft's most enticing pass rushers.

Indianapolis selected UCLA edge Laiatu Latu with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Detroit.

The Atlanta Falcons' surprising selection of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 broke the 2021 record of consecutive offensive players take to start a draft. The offensive surge kept going, though, with six quarterbacks, four offensive tackles, three wide receivers and one tight end having their names called before the Colts were up.

They took Latu as the draft's first defensive player and likewise stopped any concern about the Bruins' havoc-wreaker dropping.

Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager reported Thursday morning that teams were split on Latu after a college career marked by equal parts stellar play (23.5 sacks over the last two seasons) and worrisome injuries (a neck injury forced him to medically retire during his time at Washington). Clearly, Colts general manager Chris Ballard wasn't worried too much, as he bolstered an already impressive pass rush that features Kwity Paye, DeForest Buckner, Samson Ebukam and was sixth in sacks in 2023.

Now, Indy has added perhaps the most skilled pass rusher in the 2024 draft, as Latu is a technician on the edge.

The 23-year-old owns a PhD in hand usage. He can swat, rip, stab and counter move on any given rush to keep blockers off his body. That technical acumen, combined with a relentless motor, gives Latu an edge over tackles.

In two years at UCLA -- one as a full-time starter -- Latu generated 23.5 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, 85 tackles, five forced fumbles, two interceptions and five passes defended. He was a consensus All-American in 2023 and first-team All-Pac-12 both years with the Bruins.

Medical concerns were Latu's biggest question entering the draft process. Following one year at Washington, he medically retired after a 2020 neck injury. After being out of football for two years, he got clearance to return, wherein he transferred to UCLA. That kind of medical history usually scares teams away, but Latu's upside was too great.

Boasting good size, smarts, quickness, instincts, and tenacity, Latu is a load off the edge and should be an impact player for the Colts as a rookie.

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