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NFL Mock Draft 2017: Mel Kiper has Colts taking a pass rusher in latest mock draft

NCAA Football: UCLA at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

So far in mock drafts, we’ve really seen only two categories for the Colts: those who have them taking a pass rusher and those who have them taking a running back.

Most mock drafts can be divided into those two categories, and count ESPN’s Mel Kiper among the group projecting a pass rusher. In his first mock draft he had the Colts taking Takkarist McKinley, and he hasn’t changed that pick. In his second mock draft, released this morning, Kiper still has the Colts taking the UCLA linebacker:

Dwight Freeney is long gone, but now so, too, is Robert Mathis and his 123.5 career sacks. There is no question the Colts need to continue to work on the offensive line, but there simply isn't appropriate value at tackle at this spot in the draft. They also really need a pass-rusher, and McKinley is explosive off the edge.

I would be surprised if the Colts took an offensive tackle with the 14th/15th pick, in part because of the talent available (which Kiper alluded to) and also in part because it’s not at the top of the list of needs. When good pass rushers are available (and that likely will be the case), that’s where the Colts have to strongly lean.

That’s what Kiper has them doing, and it makes a lot of sense. With a number of good defenders available in this draft, plus the Colts’ defensive weaknesses, it makes a lot of sense to target that side of the ball early. Pass rusher is their biggest need, and there will be plenty of good pass rush prospects available when the Colts’ pick rolls around. Kiper seems to really like McKinley when it comes to that category.

During his senior season at UCLA, McKinley recorded 61 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, ten sacks, six passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in eleven games. It was a standout season that built on a solid collegiate career. He started at Contra Costa College, where he played one season (recording ten sacks and 18 tackles for loss) before transferring to UCLA, where he played his final three seasons (recording 17 sacks and 29 tackles for loss).

I’m sure Colts fans are perfectly fine with the selection of a pass rusher in the first round, but what about McKinley in particular? What would be your thoughts on the Colts drafting him?