Will The Saints Have A Chance At Landing La’el Collins?


You would think the answer to that question would be simple…right?

I mean hey, why wouldn’t La’el Collins want to sign with the New Orleans Saints?

The situation is perfect for the former LSU Tiger since he basically would be staying home and also be playing for his home team with a potent offense as well as a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Collins was born in Baton Rouge and played his high school football at Redemptorist High before committing to the Tigers when he went to college.

More from Big Easy Believer

With a need to ramp up the protection around quarterback Drew Brees, Collins was tabbed as a potential draft pick in the first round for the Saints in the draft.

Although there was a need on defense as well in the area of a pass rusher, draft analyst Mike Detillier said he’d take Collins at the 13th overall pick if none of those rushers were there.

Fans who were all in on defense even were willing to go with an offensive lineman like him since he showed the versatility to play both guard and tackle in the NFL.

However when Baton Rouge Police Department began the murder investigation into Collins’ former girlfriend Brittney Mills, things changed.

After leaving the draft to return to Baton Rouge to answer questions by police, Collins stock plummeted even when it was said he wasn’t a suspect in the homicide.

After the draft ended and Collins became an undrafted free agent, the whirlwind courting carousel began for the offensive tackle.

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan flew in to Baton Rouge and took Collins to dinner at Ruffino’s to give his pitch.

The Miami Dolphins sent former LSU players like receiver Jarvis Landry and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson to speak with him.

More from Editorials

David Newton of ESPN also reported that the Carolina Panthers are using their LSU connection in offensive guard Trai Turner to help persuade Collins to sign with them.

In essence every team that has a shot at landing Collins is doing their best to land him and pull off the biggest undrafted free agent “sure thing” in recent memory of the NFL.

Yes it would seem that the Saints have the inside track in having Collins joining the Black and Gold but it might not be that simple.

On the Sports Talk radio show on WWL 870 AM Tuesday evening, host Bobby Hebert said that Collins was offered the tackle position by Ryan for the Bills by a “Baton Rouge reporter”(at the 12:56 mark in the clip provided).

While this may not seem like a glowing offer, Collins has expressed numerous times during the draft process that he would play guard if asked but saw himself as a left tackle which he played at LSU.

Jan 22, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad offensive guards Arie Kouandjio of Alabama (77) and La’el Collins of LSU (70) run through blocking drills during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

When the Saints drafted offensive tackle Andrus Peat, Payton was asked about if they actually had Collins ranked lower than Peat to which his response was:

"“Yes, from the beginning. Just the flexibility. We had a really good grade on Collins. Teams are projecting him at tackle and guard and our projection with him is as a guard. I think he’s a very dominant player, physical. We just saw a different type of player in Peat.”"

The Saints are already getting questions about their tackle situation since Terron Armstead and Zach Strief are the favorites for the left and right positions respectively.

Add Peat to that mix and now it becomes a question of what would be a comfortable fit position wise for both the Saints and Collins.

And speaking of comfort, the Dolphins and Panthers are playing the hometown card better than the Saints could with players that Collins is familiar with and would provide a support system for him.

Anthony Johnson posted this on his Twitter account yesterday as he flew to Baton Rouge on a private jet:

From what it seems, even though other teams like the New England Patriots are now said to be making a push for Collins, the Dolphins appear to be super aggressive in recruiting him.

Collins ultimately has the upper hand in this situation and where he goes is anyone’s guess.

The Saints could extend an offer to Collins to start at guard with the understanding of being allowed to compete for a tackle position.

They could also agree to give him an extension after two years to help recoup money that he ultimately lost due to not being selected in the first round.

It’s understandable that Saints fans, who are dual LSU fans, would love to see Collins as a Saint and I’m sure the Saints would love to have a player of his caliber protecting Brees for years to come.

But as mentioned earlier, it’s up to Collins now to choose who’ll be the best fit for him and for whatever reason, unfortunately, I don’t think it will be New Orleans….

Next: Landing Spots for Undrafted LSU Players