When La’el Collins was passed over by all 32 NFL teams in all 7 rounds of last weeks 2015 NFL Draft I was very surprised.
The news that a young woman he had previously dated had been murdered was certainly jarring, to say the least. Teams doing their homework going into the draft should have known he is a high character guy, and the police were pretty quick to publicly announce he was not a suspect.
By missing out on a 1st round pick and the contract that goes with it La’el Collins lost a ton of money.
Still, he was faced with a unique opportunity. A rookie with consensus first round pick ability who wasn’t drafted and had the opportunity to choose his own destiny.
A lot of teams made their recruiting pitches to La’el Collins once the draft ended. Rex Ryan flew down to Baton Rouge to talk up the Buffalo Bills. Miami sent a couple of LSU alumni in to convince La’el to bring his talents to South Beach.
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Practically every team in the league made a pitch.
Even the Dallas Cowboys; who have the youngest and most talented line in the NFL and had no need to add another lineman, called to check on La’el Collins availability.
I think everyone was very surprised when La’el Collins accepted the Cowboys offer today.
After all — most other teams in the league have a greater need and a better chance for him to start as a rookie.
So why Dallas?
First off, while Collins has said he wants to play tackle, which pays better pretty much everywhere but New Orleans, Dallas is absolutely set at Left Tackle.
Tyron Smith is young, enormously talented, and just signed a mega extension to be Dallas LT for years to come.
That spot is closed.
Dallas also drafted a Center and a Right Guard in the first round of the last two drafts.
Both players are hits and aren’t going anywhere. Their Left Guard and Right Tackle are no slouches either, after all they started for arguably the best offensive line in the NFL last year.
Ole Hotty Toddy
The secret to La’el Collins decision is in the contracts.
Doug Free is solid this year, but the Cowboys can save money next year if they cut the aging Right Tackle and replace him with the younger cheaper Collins.
Left Guard Ronald Leary is only under contract for one more year. He is a former Undrafted Free Agent who has developed well but is no where close to La’el Collins in talent.
La’el Collins will get a chance to earn a tackle position and the tackle money that goes with it. If the team feels he will be better off at guard he will still be lining up with an All Pro tackle on one shoulder, and a pro bowl Center and All Pro Guard on the other.
That is really the crux of this decision.
If La’el Collins pans out the way LSU fans and NFL scouts believe he will Dallas will be upgrading what is already the best offensive line in football.
If Collins is a Pro Bowl caliber player in the NFL, the Cowboys will feature 2 All Pro’s and 2 Pro Bowlers on one unit.
Dallas could have the best offensive line we have seen in the NFL since their Superbowl teams of the early 90’s.
This move makes perfect sense.
La’el Collins chose to play college ball at LSU to surrpund himself with the best talent in the country. As he moves on to the NFL he is choosing to do the same thing again.
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If this move works out, Collins will start on a historically great offensive line.
My hat is off to him, and not just to scratch my head and say “huh?” like so many LSU fans did when they heard he was heading to Dallas.
This is a strong move by a strong man, and the payoff could be a Superbowl trip followed by a major free agent windfall……..