IRVING, TX - LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins has officially signed with the Cowboys after going undrafted in last weekend's NFL draft.
The offensive tackle was widely seen as a first-round talent prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, but he fell off of draft boards leaguewide when the Baton Rouge Police Department requested to speak with him regarding a local murder case. Collins spoke with police on Monday and has reportedly met with several NFL teams this week.
Collins' fall out of the draft -- and his subsequent recruitment by multiple NFL teams, including Buffalo, Miami and Dallas -- has been an unprecedented story around the NFL. The 21-year-old met with Baton Rouge police on Monday, and he has never been considered a suspect in the murder of 29-year-old Brittney Mills, who was pregnant when she was shot and killed on April 24. Collins also took a paternity test in regard to the case, and it came back negative.
The All-SEC offensive lineman was projected to go as high as the top 10 or the top 15 of last week's draft, but he'll instead sign on an undrafted free agent's contract. Several undrafted free agents have gone on to earn roles with the Cowboys in recent years, including Ron Leary, Cole Beasley and Lance Dunbar -- though Collins' circumstances are admittedly a bit different.
The Cowboys could potentially play Collins at either guard or tackle, as he has the versatility to compete for playing time at multiple spots. He played guard during the early stages of his LSU career, but he manned the Tigers' left tackle spot as an upper classman.
That versatility gives thought to the idea that Collins could compete for Leary's left guard spot as a rookie, or he could potentially compete for the right tackle job with Doug Free, who is coming off an injury-shortened 2014 season. Regardless of where Collins lines up, the Cowboys now have four first-round talents working at offensive line.