INDIANAPOLIS — Many experts believe the Indianapolis Colts will have their fill of talented pass rushers or cornerbacks to choose from when they go on the clock at 15th overall in this year's NFL Draft.
But will first-year general manager Chris Ballard instead go with the best available player — even if it means selecting an offensive lineman in the first round for a second straight year?
That's what ESPN's Todd McShay believes, as he has the Colts selecting Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp with their first-round pick in his latest Mock Draft, which you can find in its entirety by clicking here (note: ESPN Insider access required).
McShay acknowledges there will still likely be some big names available on the defensive side of the ball when the Colts pick, but it'd be hard to go against a player with Lamp's abilities up front on offense:
"Rebuilding the offensive and defensive lines has to be a priority for the Colts," McShay wrote. "Edge rushers such as Takkarist McKinley or Charles Harris could make sense here, but Lamp is the best all-around offensive lineman in this draft. He played left tackle in college, but projects as a guard in the NFL. Flip on his tape against Alabama. This kid is for real."
McShay has been consistent with his Colts picks so far in his mock drafts, as earlier in the offseason he projected the team could go with Alabama tackle Cam Robinson. But in his most recent mock draft, McShay has Robinson falling all the way to 31st overall to the Atlanta Falcons.
Lamp certainly has the size — 6 foot 4, 309 pounds — to thrive as an inside presence on the Colts' offensive line, and, according to his NFL.com Draft Profile, an AFC executive was quoted by Lance Zierlein as saying Lamp is "the real deal."
"If he can snap, you could get away with playing him all up and down the line," said that unnamed executive. "Great feet, strong, smart."
Zierlein, who compared Lamp to All-Pro Dallas Cowboys guard Zach Martin, said Lamp "has the athleticism to handle athletic interior rushers while being able to fit into diverse rushing attacks that ask more from the guards and centers."
"His ability to potentially line up at tackle, guard or center will only increase his value," Zierlein wrote.
If the Colts went with Lamp, as previously mentioned, he would become the team's second straight offensive lineman selected in the first round, joining center Ryan Kelly, who was picked 18th overall in 2016 and went on to start all 16 games in a solid rookie season.
Perhaps the best place for a guy like Lamp in Indy would be at right guard, where the team has quite a few candidates, as well as at right tackle, hoping to secure a starting job in 2017. One might believe Joe Haeg, who stood out as a rookie, starting 14 games at guard and tackle for the Colts in 2016, would be an early front runner for one of those two spots, while the other remains wide open.
Other options currently include Denzelle Good, Le'Raven Clark, Austin Blythe, Brian Schwenke, Adam Redmond, Isiah Cage, Fahn Cooper and Jeremy Vujnovich.
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.