ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his third mock draft of the season today and his first one since the Scouting Combine. We've seen a number of different players and positions projected to the Colts at the 29th overall pick, but what does McShay have them doing in the first round in his most recent mock draft? He has the Colts taking LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins.
The Colts will likely be hoping for one of the pass-rushers already off the board in this mock draft to drop to No. 29, as they need some youth at the perimeter rusher spots. Bjoern Werner hasn't shown enough promise for them to count on him emerging in 2015, and Robert Mathis turns 34 on Feb. 26. But in this scenario, the market on pass-rusher prospects has run dry, so I have them upgrading their offensive line with Collins, who could play either right tackle or right guard for Indianapolis. Georgia running back Todd Gurley is another possibility here.
McShay notes that the Colts ideally need a pass rusher in the first round, but in his mock draft he doesn't have a pass rusher good enough to go at 29 still available. This should be a reminder that, especially when it gets to a pick like number 29, the previous 28 picks have a big impact on what the Colts will do. McShay isn't saying that Collins is his number one target for the Colts or that offensive line is their number one biggest need, but rather McShay is saying that Collins is the best fit at pick number 29 based on how the rest of his mock draft went. That's important to keep in mind when discussing the draft.
As for Collins, if there was a player mocked to the Colts most often it might really be the LSU lineman, as over the past few months we've seen a number of people project the Colts to take Collins. The 6-4, 305 pound lineman was a three-year starter at LSU and was a second-team All-American during his 2014 senior season, also winning the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the best lineman in the SEC. He played in 45 career games, starting 38. In 2014 he started all 13 games at left tackle, in 2013 started 12 games at left tackle, and in 2012 he started all 13 games at left guard. At the NFL level, it's expected that he would either play right tackle or guard, which is right where the Colts would likely use him. He could likely step in immediately at right guard and then, in a year, replace Gosder Cherilus at right tackle if need be.
What would you think of the Colts drafting La'El Collins in the first round of the draft?