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NFL Mock Draft 2016: Matt Miller projects Colts taking a pass rusher in first round

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In his latest mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the Colts taking Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is just a few weeks away, which means that this marathon of a process that is draft season is almost over for this year.  The Colts will have six picks in this year's draft, including the number 18 overall selection - a crucial one for the franchise moving forward.

The Colts have plenty of needs, but arguably their biggest one is at pass rush.  The Colts need someone who can pressure the quarterback, and if there's someone there at number 18 overall that can do that, it wouldn't be a surprise whatsoever to see the Colts take him.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reflected that in his latest mock draft on Friday, as he has the Colts taking Eastern Kentucky outside linebacker Noah Spence in the first round.

A top-10 player in this class based on what he did on the field, Spence's off-field issues cause a drop to the middle of the round. He's the twitchy pass-rusher the Colts have lacked.

Spence has dropped in mock drafts due to some off-the-field concerns, but on-the-field he's certainly a talented player.  He began his career at Ohio State and played well there, including a terrific sophomore season in which he notched eight sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss en route to being named first-team All-Big Ten.  After that, however, he was banned from the conference for multiple failed drug tests, so he transferred to Eastern Kentucky.  Playing there during the 2015 season, he recorded 11.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss, proving to be a very productive playmaker.  The Colts have visited with him during the pre-draft process, and he's arguably the best pass rusher in this year's draft.  The drug concerns that led to his leaving Ohio State, however, are questions and that could perhaps lead to him dropping a bit in the draft.

The Colts and Ryan Grigson are wary of taking a player with off-the-field concerns, so that's likely a big reason why they wanted to meet with Spence.  If they don't have concerns, this pick wouldn't at all be surprising for the Colts if Spence is still available at number 18 overall.  As Miller noted, this year's EDGE rusher class isn't strong and teams should target them early if they need one.  Because of that, the Colts would be wise to look to address that area early in the draft, and if Noah Spence is there at number 18 overall, it would be a good pick.