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La'el Collins Working At Right Tackle During Cowboys' Offseason Program
FRISCO, Texas – It has long been speculated about, but it now appears official that you can throw La’el Collins’ name into the right tackle conversation.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Collins confirmed as much, acknowledging that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and the Dallas coaching staff want him to work at the vacant right tackle spot.
“I’ve talked to Coach about it, and he just told me that going into it, that’s where he wants me to be,” Collins said. “He wants me to give it my all and we’ll see where it goes. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
Collins has been considered a candidate at right tackle from the time he signed with the Cowboys back in 2015. But with veteran starter Doug Free retiring earlier this spring, the speculation has grown considerably. Collins started two years at left tackle during his college career, making him a natural to return to the outside during this year’s offseason program.
“I actually forgot how good it felt to be out on the edge – to be out there on that island,” Collins said. “Right now, we’re not doing too much, we’re just kind of working plays against air and that’s about it. But it feels good.”
As Collins said, the Cowboys are currently in Phase II of their offseason program – which doesn’t allow for the offense and defense to work against each other. With that in mind, it’s a little early to get a clear idea of how they might shuffle their offensive line in 2017.
In addition to Collins, the Cowboys still have Chaz Green – who they drafted No. 92 overall in 2015, and who has battled injury issues over the past two years. They also signed veteran tackle Byron Bell to add depth earlier in the offseason.
“I think it’s good competition. We’re just going to keep working, man,” Collins said.
Regardless of how it shakes out, it’s still interesting to think Collins could be moving to the right side – given that the Cowboys have long expressed a desire to keep him at left guard. If he does in fact move back outside, the offensive line also has Jonathan Cooper and Joe Looney, who can help account for the loss of Ron Leary during free agency.
Having sat out the majority of the 2016 season with a toe injury, Collins said he’s just happy to be getting back to work. The third-year veteran is playing with metal plates in his cleats for protection, and he said he’s in as good a shape as he’s been in since he entered the NFL.
Wherever the Cowboys decide to line him up in 2017, Collins said he’ll be ready.
“I really feel like I can play anywhere,” he said. “Just with the mentality of, I don’t care where I’m at – whoever is in front of me, I’m going to move them off the ball. That’s the way it’s going to be done, and that’s how I feel.”Read