When the draft came to an end, Rams coach Jeff Fisher cited the “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding tackle La’el Collins as the reason why it was never an option for the team to use one of their nine picks on the highly regarded prospect.
According to Collins’s agents, that’s not exactly the case. Agent Mike McCartney said that he’s never been more anxious during a draft than he was in the seventh round this year as they waited to see if someone would take Collins despite the threat to sit out the 2015 season in hopes of re-entering the draft the next year. His partner Rick Smith told Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com that one team that said they were ready to take the plunge in the final round.
“There was a team that had drafted four offensive linemen and they said, ‘We’re taking him.’ And I texted back, ‘You’re going to embarrass yourself. You’re going to waste this pick.’ And they passed. And now he’s a UDFA,” Smith said.
The Rams were the only team to draft four offensive linemen during this year’s draft, all of them before the start of the seventh round, which doesn’t leave much guesswork about who was on the other side of the message. As it turns out, the Rams or anyone else who drafted Collins wouldn’t have had to deal with any embarrassment associated with wasting the pick.
“We can put it on the record now: We were never going back in the draft,” Smith said. “If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft. He could get injured, gain weight, or 10 great tackles could come out. Too many risks.”
Collins wasn’t drafted and the Cowboys signed him a few days later in a move that may leave a lot of other teams wishing they’d played things differently in spite of the extraordinary circumstances of the situation.