One of the most interesting storylines of the offseason may have just been answered. According to various media members it seems that the Cowboys are looking at possibly using La’el Collins at right tackle this season, not left guard.
La'el Collins has been working at RT, not LG, during offseason program. Collins said coaches told him to get ready for that spot.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) May 8, 2017
So far in the teaching sessions La'el Collins said he had worked solely at right tackle, none at left guard.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) May 8, 2017
Also of note: La'el Collins talked a bit tonight about playing right tackle this spring. Said the coaches want him to attack RT full speed.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) May 8, 2017
Also according to Dave Helman it sounds like Collins is in great shape and chomping at the bit to get back out on the field, although it’s May and you’ll probably hear that story about approximately 20 different Cowboys this offseason, so there’s that.
FWIW, La'el looks like a guy who didn't appreciate being sidelined last season. Dude looks trim, says he can't wait to go to work.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) May 8, 2017
Jon Machota speculates that Jonathan Cooper, who spent a few weeks on the roster towards the end of last season, may be the favorite to take over at left guard if Collins does indeed end up playing at right tackle this year.
Perhaps Jonathan Cooper will be the new left guard, basically giving the Cowboys 5 first-rounders on the starting O-line https://t.co/Q0wpxhrW6J— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 8, 2017
That is backed up by this quote from Jerry Jones a few months ago:
Jerry Jones: "Same cats that picked [Tyron, Travis & Zack] are the same guys who thought [Jonathan] Cooper was going to be the next coming."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 7, 2017
I’d imagine the door is definitely not closed on Collins moving back to left guard depending on how he looks at his new spot, as well as how someone like Chaz Green looks in training camp, but it certainly looks as if the initial plan is to replace the retired Doug Free with Collins on the right side and then have a competition at left guard between Jonathan Cooper and Byron Bell. The Bell signing could come in extremely handy given the fact that he has experience starting at right tackle, as well as at guard, so the team definitely has options here.
Either way, this will be one of the most fascinating storylines to follow throughout training camp and the preseason.