The 2015 NFL draft wound through seven full rounds while LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins waited to hear his name called. Due to some rather serious legal concerns that opportunity never came. Now word has spread that not only is Collins not the father of his murdered ex-girlfriend's baby but that he has passed independently conducted polygraph examinations regarding his possible involvement with the crime.
With this news comes a shot at redemption for La'el Collins. Never will he be a first round draft pick, but he will be a professional football player and a likely prospect to be a day one starter with whomever he signs with. The potential implications of Brittney Mills' murder may have taking away his shot at the big money on his first professional contract but they did not take away his talent. It is available on the open market. You can be certain that all 32 teams in the league are interested in that. Although it will not be for a high dollar contract, La'el Collins finds himself in the driver's seat as a hot commodity in this year's talent search.
The Dallas Cowboys will be a key player in that market.
Police have been upfront from the start. While they wanted to speak with Collins due to his past association with Ms Mills, they have stated that he is not a suspect. Today's news lends credence to that, and with the way seemingly cleared for him to join the NFL, Dallas is highly interested in adding to a wealth of riches on the offensive line.
Collins was projected to fall inside the top twenty selections overall until this tragedy occurred. He was an All American for the LSU Tigers and he won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the SEC last season. La'el started every game of his junior and senior seasons as the team's left tackle. He was also a leader in Les Miles' locker room; he was voted to be one of the Tiger captains this season.
Collins is ideally suited to step in and fit perfectly in a pro style offense. HE is strong, plays with a mean streak, and has solid fundamentals. He may not be athletic enough to reach the top tier as a blindside protecter in the NFL but he would be a factor at guard or as a right side bookend. His ideal NFL fit is most likely as a guard in a power running game but he is versatile enough to play several positions.
Collins agent is in the process of notifying NFL teams if they are on the list of places where Collins would prefer to go. The Miami Dolphins has dispatched several forner LSU guys to talk with him and Rex Ryan has met with the player on an informal basis as well. The New England Patriots are said to be high on Collins list. Clearly Dallas is under serious consideration as well.
If he were to set down with the Cowboys and reach a mutual understanding then arguably the best offensive line in football would immediately get better. A line with Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick would be adding a fourth first round caliber young player to its lineup. Joining that group would insure that Collins would have high level exposure as well as opportunities for immediate success in the game. It could be the starting point for him to prove himself worthy of the pre-draft hype.
There will be many options for Collins over the next few days. He may or may not become a Cowboy, but there are few more attractive options out there and with Jerry Jones helping to make the pitch, who knows what may transpire in the next few days.