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My initial reaction? I really didn’t have one…because I never thought Laiatu Latu would ever make it to 15. It wasn’t an idea I had really considered.

At pick 15, the Colts had their pick at any defensive player they wanted in the draft. It was a scenario that while the Colts may claim they had a good feeling about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to hold their breath a couple of times before 15.

That being said; It makes some sense. Especially after his attempts to trade up didn’t land. Chris Ballard loves the trenches, and he loves Coach Ed’s players. (For reference Coach ED is the private D-line coach for Kwity Paye, Adetomiwa Adebawore, Dayo Odeyingbo, & Samson Ebukam).



Latu is a deviation from the typical Chris Ballard prospect. In the past, Ballard has opted for the high ceiling, uber-athletic prospect, with an upside in traits that will carry them to their ceiling. While Latu is an impressive athlete, he wouldn’t fit the typical Chris Ballard mold. His arm length is far below league average at the position and he lacks the bulk that top edge rushers have.

But man…is the tape ridiculously polished (which we’ll be breaking down) and you can tell he’s a real student of the game.





I can’t help but think about the reports of the Colts’ interest in Danielle Hunter during Free Agency. They wanted to add at EDGE, and they were gonna do that hell or high water. But it almost seems odd right? A defensive line unit that put up a franchise record in sacks, and they go and find a new D-line coach, make a ballsy run in free agency at an elite EDGE, and end up taking one in the first round when they probably had bigger needs on the roster?

Yep. But it’s pretty smart the more you think about it. Dayo and Kwity are due for new deals next year. Depending on how the year goes and the seasons they have, it’s very possible Indy won’t be able to sign them both, especially with all the free agents that are due for a payday. Even if they can sign them both, Indy still got a lot better in the D-line room.

There’s a message I’m sure has been said in plenty of offensive meeting rooms in the NFL. “We win the game if we don’t let Buckner ruin it”. Well, it got a lot harder after last night.

Indy’s D-line really may be one of the deeper units in the league. You can’t just slide the protection to Buck all game anymore. Indy has too much talent, but more importantly, too much depth that they can keep their guys fresh for all four quarters.




You’re gonna hear pundits and draft media use this phrase over and over when describing Latu. So let me try and give some context to that, so you know what they mean. Latu is executing pass-rush moves that most guys do not have in their bags yet. I equate it almost to Little League baseball. When you were 12 they used to say, “Don’t throw curveballs, stick to a fastball… you’ll throw your arm out!”. Well, this is the football version of that. Latu is executing moves coming out of college that take pro-D-lineman years to master. Euro Chops, Counter Clubs, Rips, Swipes, Swim, you name it.

But Latu has said it himself. He has three main moves. So let’s move, to why he may be using them, and then how easy he makes it look.




The euro chop is one of Latu’s favorite moves to break out because it lets him defeat the hands of a tackle, stick his foot in the ground, and then turn the corner. You usually use this move against tackles with a lower punch because you can chop his wrist down and make him vulnerable. It’s a move that takes a lot of timing, lateral agility, and proper hand placement.



Here’s Latu rushing the passer vs. Oregon State. You can see how that tackle is setting laterally and initiating contact with a low punch. After taking an inside step, Latu takes his inside arm and “chops” the wrist of the tackle’s outside arm. He’s doing this all while jumping laterally so that the tackle can’t get into his chest. It’s a move that while he makes it look easy, is not at all. There is so much that can go wrong with poor timing and hand placement.

You often hear draft experts, coaches, etc. talk about the bend. When you’re evaluating how “bendy” a defensive lineman is, you’re looking for how low can a player get with all of his cleats in the ground. Latu has a lot of that in his game.




Here’s Latu lining up in a two-point stance vs. the RG.




The Stab Club is a great move to have Latu’s arsenal because of his modest arm length. D-line coaches often talk about the “one arm is longer than two principles”. When trench players go to initiate contact, Latu can make up for his length with a one-arm stab as opposed to reaching out with two arms. This is because the turn of the shoulder accommodates the extra length. This applies to the run game as well.

The Stab Club in particular is great because Latu is so good at timing his moves, that when an OL sees him use the one-arm stab they usually will flash their hands. This gives Latu the ability to club the outside hand and defeat the rusher without having to engage in a lengthy battle.




The Double Swipe is a popular move used by a lot of edge rushers. It’s a counter move to when an OL is quick to punch early in their set and typically a higher puncher.




DISCLAIMER: I know this is against a TE. Colorado tried to bring a TE over to Latu’s side to help the OT. Except the OT didn’t want the help I guess because he’s slow out of his stance and not setting vertically enough at all. Anyway, I know it will never be this easy for Latu again, but I chose this one just because it’s as easy to see a double swipe as it gets for people unfamiliar with the pass rush technique.

You can see here the TE goes to a two-hand punch and has his hands high up towards his chest. As soon as Latu sees that, he’s swiping it away because he knows the TE will be unable to recover once he has all that room to rip underneath.




Latu is the 3-wood right down the middle of the fairway. He has a lot of nuanced moves already in his bag. This isn’t a situation where you must wait for a coach to teach an athlete how to rush the passer. It’s impressive.

Chris Ballard, if you know him well enough, wouldn’t dream of taking a guy like Latu, unless he were 1000% positive the medical would not be an issue. Keep in mind that this is the GM that had, what was supposed to be his franchise QB for the next decade, step away from the game because of a string of injuries. Ballard does his work.

It’s going to be really difficult for offensive linemen to try and handle Indy’s front, especially late in games. The more pieces you can add around a disruptive 3 technique, the better your line becomes.


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