La’el Collins went from a potential first-round pick to undrafted in a span of a few days, but he doesn’t dwell on what might have been.
Despite the stunning turn of events just over three years ago, Collins is now entrenched at right tackle with the Dallas Cowboys and feels fortunate to be a part of perhaps the league’s best offensive line.
“Honestly, it’s that times 10,” Collins told the Dallas Morning News of how landing with “America’s Team” turned out better than he could have imagined. “I never knew what it was like being a Cowboy. Now that I’m going into my fourth year, I really understand what it’s like, and it’s great.”
Collins was projected as a first-round pick in 2015 before he was listed as a person of interest in a Baton Rouge, La., murder investigation two days before the draft.
His stock spiraled even though he was never a suspect in the murder and the former LSU star wound up signing a three-year, $1.4 million contract with Dallas as a free agent.
Collins started 11 games at left guard as a rookie and three during the 2016 season before landing on injured reserve with a toe injury.
Following the retirement of Doug Free, Collins was shifted to right tackle prior to the 2017 season, signing a two-year, $15.4 million extension.
“I think about it all over again, and I would have come here every time,” said Collins. “It’s been a blessing. Just looking forward to the future and what it holds for us.”