IRVING, Texas – There's a reason the Cowboys are listing rookie La'el Collins as "OL" (short for "offensive lineman") on the official 90-man roster, not simply "T" for tackle or "G" for guard.
The team thinks Collins might be versatile enough to play either position. He says he spent the majority of last week's OTAs in the right tackle rotation with 2014 starter Doug Free recovering from foot surgery. In Wednesday's open session Collins moved inside to left guard, rotating with 2014 starter Ron Leary.
"Pretty much whatever my coach needs from me on that day," Collins said.
At LSU, Collins started at left guard his sophomore season before moving to left tackle his final two years. He said NFL teams worked him out at both spots prior to the draft.
The move to right tackle is a new challenge that requires several adjustments, beginning with his stance.
Moving inside to guard, though, is "second nature" to him.
"You're right there with down linemen so everything is a lot quicker, which is good for me," he said. "I feel like that's a part of one of my strengths. Being able to get on guys quick is an advantage."
The OTAs allow coaches to try rookies at several positions and see where they fit. Third-round pick Chaz Green has gotten reps and tackle and guard, too. First-round pick Byron Jones has played left and right cornerback and moved inside to the slot in the dime package.
With only seven offensive linemen likely to dress on game days, versatility is key for Collins and the other linemen.
"He's done a good job," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He's played both tackle and guard for us, like we had talked about coming out. He's done some good things at tackle, he's done some good things at guard.
"He's going to see a lot of different looks from the defense, so he, like a lot of young guys, they're trying their best to hang in there. But they're a long way off from where they need to be. He's working the right way, though."