La’El Collins enters the 2015 NFL Draft after starting 38 games for the LSU Tigers. He started at guard during his sophomore season and transitioned to tackle the last two years. Collins finished the 2014 season as a Second Team All-American and First Team All-SEC performer and was the winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. In 2013, he was a Second Team All-SEC selection (as well as an Honorable Mention pick in 2012). Physically, Collins is right in the NFL’s wheelhouse when describing the ideal tackle measureables. At 6’5 and 315lbs, he’s plenty big enough to holdup in the NFL while still presenting with a body composition that allows for solid movement skills and overall agility. He doesn’t appear sloppy, and while 315(+) pounders could always use some tightening in their mid-sections, I don’t see any glaring issues with his frame. Collins is a strong, strong man. He creates a powerful jolt on contact and while he doesn’t always play with great leverage, his natural power is clear on tape; he manages to control and drive the defender in any direction he chooses even when he appears to lack any kind of leverage advantage. Athletically, Collins struggles a bit when changing directions and with his overall agility. He’s more of a power player at this point in his development. In pass protection, La’El Collins, uncoils a strong punch and can really knock an oncoming pass rusher off his course. However, he’s a work in progress with his lateral agility, and while he has pretty light feet for a big man, he still can get beat when defenders cross his face. He tends to chase a pass rusher to the edge rather than quickly getting out of his stance, sliding and cutting off the angle to the quarterback. In the run game, Collins’ power and ability to drive the defender off the ball is consistently on display. He needs to play with better and more consistent pad level at times, but he is still so overwhelming at the point of attack that he can flat out maul. He’s the ideal in-line power player who still needs to develop a bit more when finishing a block in space. Overall, though, he’s a natural brute who will win anytime he’s in a phone booth.
BOTTOM LINE: La’El Collins is this year’s power lineman who will be extremely appealing to teams looking to upgrade their rushing attack. He has the kind of skill set that suggests he’ll be an immediate starter in the NFL, although he does come with some risk against the speedy edge rusher. He falls into the traditional “right tackle” classification because of his potential liability on the edge. He’s very similar to Brandon Scherff from a “safe pick” standpoint; If he struggles at tackle in the NFL, he can be kicked inside to be a dominant guard. He’s a first round power player.
GRADE: 8.0 (1st Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)