Star Evaluation: Position Switch, Steady Injuries Were Handled By Collins in 2017

While free agency officially begins in March, roster turnover isn't too far away. The Cowboys will indeed add and presumably release players, along with letting some go without a new contract.

However, the majority of the 2018 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.

Today, we'll continue the series with tackle La'el Collins.

Views of #71 Right Tackle La'el Collins from the 2017-18 Regular Season.

What's Been Good:

Not only did Collins make the move from guard to right tackle last year, but also came off a toe injury that limited his 2016 season to just three games. Bouncing back from injury and moving positions could lead to some struggles but it wasn't there for Collins, who impressed the Cowboys enough in the offseason that he was given a two-year contract extension. Once the season began, Collins didn't disappoint, showcasing his size and strength on a consistent basis.    

What's Been Bad:

There weren't any "bad" moments for Collins. Other than an occasional penalty or allowing a sack, Collins was one of the more consistent players. If there was a downside for him personally, it was dealing with steady injuries throughout each week. However, it was never noticed on the field with his play.

2017 Highlight:

Expanding on the injury front, Collins should be applauded for his ability to not only fight through injury, but Collins never missed an offensive snap. In fact, he was one of just two players (Travis Frederick) to play 100 percent of the offensive plays last season, which is amazing considering there were weeks in which he couldn't even practice in full. Even better than that, Collins didn't play like an injured right tackle, which makes his efforts to get himself ready both physically and mentally even more amazing.

What's Next:

For Collins, the next step is Pro Bowl and All-Pro level. While those individual accomplishments likely won't be announced by Collins and/or the team, ultimately the Cowboys believe Collins has that kind of potential. Let's not forget he was a Pro Bowl alternate at guard during the 2015 season so it's not like he's too far away from that respect from his peers. Collins has the ability to be an elite tackle, despite being surrounded by three perennial Pro Bowl and All-Pro players.   

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  • Give the front office and coaching staff credit for the plan to move La'el Collins from guard to tackle.
  • I didn't feel like it was going to be easy to replace Doug Free and his production but Collins executed the transition with little issue.
  • To Collins' credit he did fight through some technique adjustments in camp but once the season started he was well on his way to becoming a reliable, confident and consistent performer.
  • I only see the arrow going up with Collins here.
  • The investment that the organization made over the year at the position with him will continue to pay dividends with him and Zack Martin on that right side.
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