2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report: La’el Collins

  • Flashes heavy hands
  • Agility
  • Athleticism
  • Flashes quickness to mirror speed rushers
  • Ability to sustain blocks
  • Physical
  • Can display a mean streak
  • Has some quickness to the second level
  • Scheme flexibility; ability to work in a man or zone scheme
  • Ability to stay on his feet
  • Reliable pass-protector in college
  • Anchors well against bull rushers
  • Durable
  • Experienced

  • Weaknesses:
  • Needs to improve his technique
  • Doesn’t bend well
  • Can struggle to create movement in the ground game
  • Inconsistent
  • Future position?

  • Summary: Collins was a reliable blocker for the Tigers over the past two seasons. He started 13 games at left guard in 2012 and was an honorable mention All-SEC selection. Collins had his best season of college football in 2013 as the blind-side protector for Zach Mettenberger. Collins played well against Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Iowa. In the ground game, the junior helped pave the way for Jeremy Hill to have a big season, and the SEC coaches made Collins a Second-Team All-SEC selection in his first season at left tackle.

    Collins wasn’t as nasty in 2014 as he was the year before. Some teams wondered if an ankle injury was bothering the senior while others questioned if he was trying to protect himself and was lacking some motivation to compete at the college level.

    LSU destroyed Kentucky, though Collins did his part to keep Wildcats defensive end Bud Dupree from recording a sack. Versus Florida and its dangerous edge rushers, including Dante Fowler Jr., Collins had a quality outing. He wasn’t beaten for any sacks and opened some running lanes, though he did get away with a few plays on which he should have been called for holding. Collins also merited a face-mask penalty after ripping off Fowler’s helmet. Still, his performance against Florida was singled out by sources as one of his best tapes of the season.

    For the NFL, Collins has some ability with agility and athleticism to be a pass-protector. He flashes heavy hands to sustain blocks, but didn’t really generate a lot of movement in the ground game as a senior. Collins isn’t a very good knee bender to handle NFL speed rushers, so he needs to improve his technique.

    Some teams feel Collins is a guard only and a second-round pick, but their problem with playing Collins at guard is that he doesn’t bend well and can struggle to create movement up front in the run game. Sources from another team that could consider a tackle and are picking late in the first round feel that he has the skill set to block on the edge but needs better technique. They think he could crack the late first round but is more likely to be a second-rounder.

    Another team thinks that Collins could be a very good guard in the NFL and could play as a rookie at guard. They feel with continued improvement he does have the ability to play tackle as a pro.

    However, all of the sources from a variety of teams agree that he should start out at guard or right tackle. They all feel his junior tape is better than his senior year, and Collins had a quality week at the Senior Bowl to help solidify his draft grade.

    With that being the case, Collins looks like he has a rough range of Nos. 25-50.

    Player Comparison: Michael Oher. Oher has played well at various points in his career, but he’s been inconsistent. Oher (6-4, 315) is a similar size to Collins, who will probably add around 10 pounds during his NFL career. Oher was a late first-rounder, and Collins could be the same or go early in the second round. Oher didn’t work out as a left tackle and has played more on the right side. Collins could go the same route in the NFL.

    NFL Matches: Carolina, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Oakland, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Cleveland, Kansas City, San Diego

    There are a number of options for Collins late in the first round through early in the second round. The Panthers need to upgrade their offensive tackles, and Collins could be a fit for the organization in the first round. Carolina could easily miss out on the top offensive tackles and Collins could be the best available.

    The Bucs need a left tackle of the future, another tackle and a guard to pair with Logan Mankins. Collins would be a great fit for Tampa Bay at pick No. 34 as he could step in at guard or right tackle to be an instant starter. Given time, the Buccaneers may develop him into a starting left tackle.

    Tennessee has more pressing needs than left guard or right tackle, but if Collins is the best player available at pick No. 33, he could be the selection for the Titans. The Raiders also have bigger needs, but Donald Penn is no spring chicken, so Collins could be groomed on the bench to replace Penn in 2016.

    The Jaguars also make a lot of sense for Collins. Their offensive line was dreadful in 2014, so Collins could be an improvement for them at guard or right tackle. Jacksonville could be better with Collins at left tackle and Luke Joeckel on the right side.

    The Giants are looking to improve their offensive line, and Collins could be a fit for New York in Round 2. Cleveland could use more talent on the inside and at right tackle. Collins would be a nice value for the Browns in the second round.

    The Chiefs and Chargers also need a lot of help on their offensive lines. Both teams are in the position of needing interior help along with a potential long-term starter at left tackle. Collins probably won’t fall past one of these AFC West teams.


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