I know what you’re thinking. The Detroit Lions are 6-2 midway through the season, and the last thing we should be thinking about right now is the NFL Draft. But to be fair, we are hitting the Lions’ bye week and there really isn’t much else to talk about.
Our own Kent Platte has discussed the possible needs for the Lions going into the 2015 NFL draft, and I’m here to put together what I believe would be a solid draft for the front office.
So without further ado, let’s jump into round one of seven (no picks have been lost or added yet).
La’el Collins – Offensive Tackle – LSU
Collins has done a solid job at left tackle for the LSU Tigers over the past couple of years. His best quality is definitely his ability to run block. His frame suggests to most scouts that he may be better suited off as a full-time guard in the NFL, but he also shows flashes of his superb athleticism with his ability to work the kick slide and stuff speed rushers.
While he may not be consistent at handling quicker and more powerful defensive ends, he does show plenty of upside as a tackle. Collins stands at six-foot-five weighing in at 321 pounds and uses every bit of his frame when run blocking. He easily drives his assignments away from the play with brute force and creates massive holes for his running backs.
With the First Pick
For such a big guy, you’d be surprised how quickly Collins can get out to the second level and erase an opposing linebacker out of the play
Collins rarely gets beat in pass protection, but when he does, it’s often on either an inside move or an inside stunt that can catch him off guard. If he wants to succeed as a tackle, he’ll have to keep working on his pass blocking techniques. Though he has a strong base, I’d like to see more of him sinking his hips off the snap on his kick slides, because he can often get a little too off-balanced in pass protection.
He hasn’t lost a ton of battles against speed rushing ends, but even when he wins it doesn’t always look pretty. I’m not inclined to believe he’d be able to handle an NFL pass rusher just yet.
Why He Fits:
The Lions need all the help they can get in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Luckily for them, there is a lot of top tiered talent at the offensive tackle position.
Since the Lions will be picking at 32nd overall in the first round (yep, I said it), they’ll likely miss out on a couple of tackles like Cedric Ogbuehi, Brandon Scherff and maybe even Andrus Peat.
Collins is a guy who would likely develop either as a guard to eventually take over for left guard Rob Sims, or maybe even compete with LaAdrian Waddle at right tackle. I’d like to try out the former and work from there.
The Lions could then keep Riley Reiff at tackle since he’s been doing a fine job, and have Collins take over at LG, with Travis Swanson at center.
La’el Collins vs. Florida (2014)