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Colts OT Bernhard Raimann on Laiatu Latu: He’s going to be an ‘impact player’

With OTAs now wrapped up and mandatory minicamp beginning this upcoming week for the Colts, left tackle Bernhard Raimann has had the opportunity to see Laiatu Latu on the practice field, and he can see why Latu was drafted so high.

“Now, these last couple of weeks, like getting into Phase 3 now,” said Raimann, “actually getting into football, you can see why he got drafted so high. Why he was the first defensive guy taken.

“He’s highly skilled. He’s quick, he’s strong, and I think he’s going to make an impact immediately. But you can still see he’s learning every single day, and a mistake he made last week, he’s not making this week. I think he’s definitely going to be an impact player.”

GM Chris Ballard agrees with Raimann, calling Latu a “polished” player who should make a quick impact for the Colts.

Latu comes to the NFL after being of the most disruptive pass rushers in college football for two seasons, totaling double-digit sacks and 60-plus pressures each of the last two seasons. In 2023, Latu led all edge rushers in PFF’s pass-rush win rate metric.

Although the Colts’ defense would total the fifth-most sacks last season, Latu’s presence will add some needed consistency to a pass rush unit that ranked 22nd in pressure rate and 23rd in total pressures. In order to duplicate that level of sack production in 2024, the Colts likely need to get after the quarterback with more regularity.

“He’s a great guy,” added Raimann. “Like meeting him in the locker room, he was just happy to be here. You just love to see that as a vet–just someone who appreciates being a Colt and loves being here and loves working out.”

The battles on the practice field this summer between the Colts’ defensive front and their offensive line should be one of those ‘iron sharpens iron’ situations, which hopefully results in improved play all around.

On defense, the Colts’ front should be extremely disruptive this season, with Ballard continuing to invest heavily in that group. Along the offensive line, the Colts return all five starters from a unit that ranked top-10 in yards per rush and pressure rate in 2023.

Over the years, the game of football has certainly changed, but one core principle remains true: if you can control the line of scrimmage, you can control the game, and the Colts are set up well to do that on both sides of the ball.

“We have great defensive linemen that we go up against every day,” said Raimann. “We’re lucky to be able to compete against them every day.”

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire