The 2015 NFL Draft will be held on April 30 through May 2 in Chicago, and it is a time where the 32 NFL teams will look to add some pieces to improve both this year and in future years. The Indianapolis Colts currently have nine picks in the Draft, including at least one in each round, and therefore they should be active on Draft day. Who might they target? We're taking a look at a number of different prospects, and today we take a look at LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins.
Collins, a 6-5, 321 pound tackle, was a three-year starter for LSU, playing in 45 games in his career and starting 38. As a sophomore in 2012, he started at left guard but was then moved outside to left tackle for the final two years of his collegiate career. In 2014, he was named a second-team All-America and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy for being the top offensive lineman in the SEC, as voted on by the coaches.
Collins is a lineman with great size and great strength who will often dominate in the trenches and has the quickness off the snap that teams look for. He has good technique and is a hard worker who has the versatility to play a number of different spots along the offensive line at the NFL level. Good character guy and leader off the field.
Is susceptible against speed rushers around the outside, therefore not making him an ideal left tackle in the NFL. Might not be a star, but should be a solid player.
Big Board Rankings
NFL.com (Mike Mayock) - number 1 offensive tackle
CBSSports.com - 18th overall, number 3 offensive tackle
Mocking the Draft - 12th overall, number 2 offensive tackle
Mock Draft Predictions
Stephen Reed's most recent mock draft: selected by San Diego Chargers, 17th overall
Josh Wilson's most recent mock draft: selected by Cleveland Browns, 12th overall
How Would He Help the Colts?
Despite some predicting Collins to the Colts early in the draft process, it's likely that La'El Collins will be off the board by the time the Colts pick. He's one of the best offensive linemen in his class and a guy who I think will have a long, solid NFL career. He'll likely have to move to either right tackle or guard at the NFL level, but when it comes to the Colts, that wouldn't be a problem, as they absolutely don't need a left tackle.
Should Collins slide to 29 (again, it's unlikely) he would almost surely be the top overall player left on the board and an interesting option for the Colts. He could backup both Todd Herremans at right guard and Gosder Cherilus at right tackle, and then after this season would take over as the long-term right tackle. That is, of course, assuming that Cherilus comes back healthy and plays well, which isn't a certainly. If that didn't happen, Collins could slide in even before the 2016 season.
Overall, I think the Colts need defense in the draft. But you can never predict the draft, particularly when you hold the 29th overall pick, and so if somehow La'El Collins were to fall that far, I think the Colts would have to consider taking him. The old adage "best player available" would almost certainly mean Collins here, and the Colts could use a long-term tackle like him. I think the Colts will and should enter the draft with a defensive mindset, but in the rare chance that Collins slides to them, they should strongly consider drafting the lineman.