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Mel Kiper shares his thoughts on what the Colts should do in the NFL Draft

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2007 NFL Draft Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

There are a lot of varying opinions about what the Colts should do with their first round pick later this month. Some suggest they should take a pass rusher. Others suggest cornerback help. Still others think a running back would be the best pick there, while others think it would be an offensive lineman. And then, of course, there are those who think the Colts should take an inside linebacker early.

So what should they do? It’s unlikely that we’ll see any sort of consensus in the coming weeks. But ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recently held a conference call, in which one of the things he discussed was what the Colts should do.

“Once free agency started, [Takkarist] McKinley comes off the list,’’ Kiper said, according to CBS4’s Mike Chappell. “I thought McKinley could be like Robert Mathis. That’s who I compare him to. But they’ve gone [with] other options and other routes there.’’

What Kiper is referring to is a change in his mock drafts, as he’s moved from having the Colts take EDGE rusher Tak McKinley to having them take inside linebacker Reuben Foster.

“You have the outside presence you need,’’ Kiper explained, “now you get the big-time inside ‘backer if he’s there, and he could be. To do the things that they did in free agency, if you do all that it helps your defense, particularly on the outside. If you bring in Foster, you’ve really upgraded your linebackers tremendously.’’

There is no denying that Reuben Foster would be a terrific addition to the Colts defense, and he would give them a very good inside linebacker to play in the middle of their defense. And it should be appreciated that Kiper understands that the biggest needs lie on the defensive side of the football for Indianapolis.

One thing I will add, however, is that the Colts’ free agent moves shouldn’t rule out an EDGE selection, though Kiper changed his pick. Jabaal Sheard and John Simon are solid free agent pickups at outside linebackers, but they’re not true pass rushers. What the Colts need is a dynamic player who is able to create his own opportunities and get after the quarterback consistently, and this is a deep EDGE class. So if you think Tak McKinley really could be the next Robert Mathis, then it would be a tremendous pick for the Colts to take him. Their free agent moves do not in any way mean they shouldn’t or won’t take a pass rusher. But that’s not really an argument about Kiper’s pick, because the selection of Foster would be a great one. And according to Chappell, Kiper did say that if the Colts don’t take a pass rusher early they should still be able to get a good one later on, such as Derek Rivers or Tyus Bowser. It’s a deep pass rusher class.

Ultimately, the Colts just need defensive playmakers. Whether that’s a pass rusher or an inside linebacker (or some other position), the Colts need to add elite talent on the defensive side of the football. In that regard, it seems Kiper has the right idea.