IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys have officially signed LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins, a projected Top 15 pick who went undrafted.
Here are the official scouting reports of both DallasCowboys.com football analyst Bryan Broaddus and draft-guru Dane Brugler, two of the featured analysts on the "Draft Show," podcast on DallasCowboys.com.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
Games Studied: Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida, Arkansas
Plays as the left tackle. Powerful man. Works to finish his block. When he gets in trouble he will become overextended and lunge. Able to adjust to the line games. Doesn't appear to have the range to get all the way to the outside. Is far better control going inside as opposed to working to his outside. Hands tend to go outside the frame. Able to get some nice push on Dante Fowler of Florida. Able to seal the corner to allow back to the outside. Has to be careful when defender pulls him forward with his balance. Is one of those players that has upper body power and he tries to climb the block as he pushes. Will have snaps where he is off balance. Will carry his hands low in pass pro. Manages to put himself in position on his kick. Can push his man wide. Flowers from Arkansas walked him back on a rush. Tends to catch blocks more than punch. Can adjust to sudden movement. Might have to play inside or at right tackle.
Dane Brugler Scouting Report:
BACKGROUND: A five-star offensive line recruit out of high school, Collins was wooed by a number of national programs, but there was very little question where he would play his college ball, committing to hometown LSU prior to his junior season. He saw action in seven games as a true freshman back-up before earning the starting left guard job as a sophomore, starting all 13 games in 2012. Collins kicked out to left tackle in 2013 as a junior and started 12 games (missed one due to injury), earning Second Team All-SEC honors. He started all 13 games as a senior and won the 2014 Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the SEC, earning First Team All-SEC and some All-American honors. Collins played in the 2015 Senior Bowl.
STRENGTHS: Well-proportioned frame with solid upper and lower body thickness…large hands and adequate length…squares his shoulders and plays with a strong base and natural anchor, making him tough to move or bully – doesn't play on his heels…strong at the point of attack to sustain with grip strength and stout wrists, jolting and redirecting defenders…physical mentality and not shy using his brute power to be a people mover with his aggressive punch…functional mobility to be effective blocking in motion and at the second level…displays coordination on combination blocks, making contact on initial target before disengaging to pick up another defender…dependable finisher once he gets his hands on defenders as a run blocker, playing with a mean streak and consistent intensity…sells out each snap and plays with a chip on his shoulder, taking each play personally with the will to defeat his opponent…vocal team leader and not afraid to call out his teammates and hold them accountable – durable and led LSU in snaps in 2014…three-year starter in the SEC (38 career starts) with playing time at both tackle and guard.
WEAKNESSES: Constantly lunges and leans with his upper half and falls off blocks, struggling to maintain his technique through contact…ends up on the ground too much with chaotic mechanics, starting with his base…average-at-best snap quickness and doesn't consistently explode out of his stance to cut off speed on the edges – too often the last lineman to move off the ball…tends to labor in his kickslide with shuffle footwork that is more choppy than fluid…inconsistent footwork once engaged and relies on his upper body to get the job done…will struggle at times to decipher blitzes and tends to get mixed up with multiple rushers – needs to improve his focus and awareness…too grabby and lack of elite length shows at times as long-armed rushers get into his frame and knock him off-balance…allows his pads to rise and doesn't rely on leverage…needs to improve his angles in the run game to better wall off lanes.
SUMMARY: A wrecking ball in the run game, Collins isn't always the most controlled, but he sells out to eliminate bodies in his path that are wearing the other color jersey. He needs to show better bend and consistency in pass protection, too often falling off balance with limited range in his kickslide, but there is no question about his 100% effort and mean streak. The bottom line with Collins is that it doesn't always look pretty, but he consistently gets the job done, selling out each snap with the upper body strength to get away with some of his miscues. He has enough talent to survive on the edges, projecting as a starting swing tackle at the next level, but might be ideally-suited inside at offensive guard – top-25 talent and long-term NFL starter.