Cleveland Browns would offer best opportunity for La’El Collins
By Paul Noel
La’El Collins current situation is fluid and everything could be wrapped up relatively soon, barring no further details emerge. If Collins is cleared, should the Cleveland Brown consider pursuing Collins? Here’s why the Browns would offer Collins the best opportunity to start.
Just in case you are unfamiliar with the current situation of the former Louisiana State tackle, it was first reported on April 28 by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, two days before the 2015 NFL Draft, that Baton Rouge Police wanted to speak to Collins in connection with an investigation into the shooting death of Collins’ pregnant former girlfriend.
The victim, Brittney Mills, was killed in her apartment on April 24. She was eight months pregnant and both Mills and the infant did not make it.
Due to the circumstance of the investigation, NFL teams were concerned and Collins went from a first-round prospect to going completely undrafted.
The pursuit of Collins is going to start heating up this week, but “clubs are prohibited from visiting a player who was eligible for the 2015 Draft at his campus or residence if the player has withdrawn from school and final exams have yet to conclude at the school,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Pro Football Talk via email. “This includes drafted players, any undrafted players that have signed as free agents, and any undrafted players that have yet to sign.”
All of that aside, some teams are already finding loopholes: Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan met with Collins not on campus or at his residence, but at a local restaurant in Baton Rouge. But that seems to be too easy of a fix to be permitted.
Investigation aside let’s take a look at the Browns as a possible landing spot for Collins
Back on March 27, the Browns’ coaching staff was on hand at Louisiana State’s Pro Day, where Browns offensive line coach Andy Moeller put Collins through the drills. Moeller reportedly walked away from the workout impressed by Collins.
Collins would create an interesting situation for the Browns. Mitchell Schwartz has played well at right tackle, although fans do not love him, while Michael Bowie has a high upside that the Browns front office is high on. In addition, Schwartz can be a free agent after the upcoming season and, with the Browns having made it clear that they will be a running team, having quality offensive linemen who can get out in front with the Zone Blocking Scheme is important.
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Moeller is an interesting coach for the Browns. He spent the past six seasons in Baltimore, the last three as an offensive line coach, as the team transitioned from a power running team to one that utlilizes the Zone Blocking Scheme. New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo wants to keep the ZBS, but could include some power plays as well.
Collins was considered a high-level prospect before the draft, with many expecting that he would have been taken between the 10th and 20th pick and could fit in a number of systems. The Browns could pursue him and get a first-round talent for much cheaper than a first-round pick.
While fans have harped about the need for a wide receiver, quarterback and tight end, the Browns are going to be a fast running team. And with Schwartz set to be a free agent, it would make sense to double down on offensive line talent. Newly acquired No. 19 overall pick Cameron Erving is more or less an insurance policy for Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who has an opt-out clause in his contract after the 2015 NFL season.
If the Browns are serious about committing to the run, why not get a top-notch tackle to compete and replace Schwartz, while simultaneously adding much-needed depth?
What do you think about targeting La’El Collins post-draft?