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NFL Mock Draft 2015: Mel Kiper Projects La'El Collins to the Colts

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In his second mock draft of the season, ESPN's Mel Kiper has the Colts taking LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins in the first round.

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We're fully in the midst of mock draft season, and we've created a nifty database for you to keep track of what others in the media are predicting the Colts to do in the first round.  You can keep checking out the database for updated mock drafts, and you can also see that there have been a couple of people who at one point had the Colts taking LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins in the first round.

In his second mock draft of the season, that's exactly what ESPN's Mel Kiper has the Colts doing.  In his most recent mock draft, released this morning, he has the Colts taking Collins in the first round at pick number 29.

The Colts did a good job of adding immediate impact even without a first-round pick in the 2014 draft. And while they saw improvement along the offensive line last season, it's still a below-average pass protection unit and a group that could better help the run game be more consistent. The Colts could go a few directions here, but Collins would be a nice value as arguably the best run-blocker in the draft (next to Scherff) at offensive tackle, and a guy that I believe has the ability to remain at tackle and be a good one (even as I know some project him to end up at guard). Creating a situation where they truly have a balanced offense would pay dividends for the defense, too, and Collins can help in that respect.

Drafting Collins in the first round would essentially be getting the eventual replacement for Gosder Cherilus at right tackle, as in 2016 his cap hit escalates to nearly $10 million and the Colts could save nearly $6 million by cutting him (per Spotrac).  It makes sense, then, to be looking for his replacement, and in the meantime, he has the size and ability to play guard at the NFL level, so he could make an immediate impact at right guard if the team were to choose.  Obviously, protecting Andrew Luck has to be a huge priority, and a number of mock drafts that we have seen so far this year are reflecting that.  At the same time, however, they have a lot of needs on the defensive side of the football as well, so the Colts need to be sure to remain balanced and address the defense too.

What are your thoughts on La'El Collins to the Colts in the first round?