La’el Collins hopes to stay at right tackle but will do whatever Cowboys ask

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La'el Collins wants to stay at right tackle, but it isn’t going to be his decision. Whether he stays or moves back to left guard likely depends on whether new tackle Cameron Fleming or new guard Marcus Martin proves the better fit in the Cowboys’ offensive line.

Dallas has an opening on its line after Jonathan Cooper, who started 13 games at left guard, departed in free agency.

“LC [Collins] is a guy who has played inside for us at guard. He played tackle for us last year,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Sunday night at the team’s Taste of the NFL event at The Star. “We saw him as a guy who could do both coming out of school. You’ve heard me say this a lot: One of the things we want to do is always try to play our five best guys. A big part of that beyond just who are the best is try to put them in the best place for them individually and the best place for them collectively. His versatility is going to help us. We have signed a couple of linemen. We’ll get them in the mix . . . and see where they fit in and get to work.”

Collins started 11 games at left guard as a rookie. He began 2016 as the starter there before injuring a toe in the third game, ending his season prematurely. A year ago, after left guard Ron Leary left in free agency and right tackle Doug Free retired, Collins moved to right tackle.

“I played against a lot of great players in my first year at right tackle,” Collins said. “For me, it only made me better as a player. Honestly, I never thought I could play multiple positions at the offensive line spot. Just being able to have played pretty much every position except center, it feels great. Going against those guys last year was a big stepping stone for me going into next year.”

Collins, 24, makes it clear he would prefer to play right tackle, saying, “I like playing tackle, so hey, I think that’s where we’ll be.” But he also said he will do what’s best for the Cowboys, and what’s best might require a move back to left guard.

“Man, at the end of the day, I’m here to help the football team,” Collins said. “I think we’re in the right direction. I think we’ll be where we need to be.”

Collins played through injuries last season, including back pain late in the season, and was one of only two players to play all 1,065 offensive snaps. Center Travis Frederick also played every offensive snap.

“Guys are going to play through pain,” Collins said. “That comes with the game. It’s all about what you can play through. I feel good. Every Sunday I woke up I feel like I was able to play, and that’s what I did. I took that approach, and I did what I could in between.”

9 responses to “La’el Collins hopes to stay at right tackle but will do whatever Cowboys ask

  1. And he would have been stuck at LT with the Giants, instead of Flowers and may (maybe not) been a bust. Yes he was unfairly put in a situation that costs him millions (the girl was regrettably put in the worst situation ever) but hopefully the Cowboys will pay him.

    Keep moving him around and he will get paid more, by them or someone else.

    I still can’t believe NO ONE took at 6th round, let alone a 7th round ‘flyer’ on him. All about image, I guess. Guilty until proven innocent.

  2. They definitely need to figure out who their best 5 are. Last year exposed Dak and Zeke as products of their o-line. Without elite blocking those two are just guys.

  3. La’el has been flexible and willing to learn. This brings great favor with coaches and management bringing job security, as much as that is possible in pro football. If he keeps the same great attitude into the future, he will start every game (from one position or another) and will make great contributions to the team.

  4. Collins was very good as a rookie LG. He flat out sucked at RT last year. Fleming is a proven, solid young vet just entering his prime. Martin is a borderline NFL player who might not make the roster.

    Unless injuries complicate things, this is an absolute no-brainer. Collins at LG and FLeming at RT clearly gives Dallas their best O-line combo.

  5. As long as the Cowboys are paying Fredericks, Smith, and eventually Martin the salaries they are getting (over 30% of their entire salary cap) they will lose every other lineman who is halfway decent to free agency when it comes.
    It’s the price they will pay for having three top quality OL.
    Collins will be gone when his contract is up…..just like the others.

  6. Also, I’ve never heard him complain about being denied making big money which I would make him look like a tool considering the circumstances. Anyone that would complain (and has a right to at least feel that way) would look insensitive. I do hope he gets paid.

    My guess is he wsa removed from everyone’s draft board, otherwise he would have been at the top from about the 20th pick on. Some people (the Kaep crowd) would say that’s collusion. It isn’t, it’s 32 teams waiting for the guilty to be proven innocent. A way of life, no need to ask others. Same as Kaep. Bad for business if true. In LC’s case it was false. The other guy IS bad for business. No one needs to collude to come to that conclusion. Most of us came to that conclusion. As an owner, Kaep would not be on my team. LC would.

  7. keep Collins at right tackle & Fleming as the swing tackle because Tyron’s back might act up again this season, maybe even try Chaz Green at left guard to replace Jonathan Cooper.

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