The LSU Tigers have been absolutely pummeled the last two years with underclassmen leaving early for the NFL. Last year they lost a record 10 players early (not even counting Tyrann Mathieu), and this year they’ve already lost 6. Thankfully for Tiger fans, star LT La’el Collins has decided to buck the recent trend, announcing he would stay for his senior season in Baton Rouge, and he made the right choice.
Collins, 6-foot 5, 315-pounds, has seen his draft stock vary, depending on who you listened to and when you listened to them. For the most part, he was viewed as a 2nd round prospect.
It’d be very understandable if Collins had left school early. 2nd round draft picks are paid handsomely. But with an incredibly talented class of tackles before us, he saw that if he waited another year he’d likely be an early first rounder.
The 2014 NFL Draft class features the likes of Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), Taylor Lewan (Michigan), Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama), Greg Robinson (Auburn) and Antonio Richardson (Tennessee), all of whom should go in the first round, and none of whom Collins likely would’ve surpassed between now and May.
As far as the tackle class for the 2015 NFL Draft, the latter three guys listed above all declared early, and won’t be competing with Collins next year in the class rankings. That means Collins will be in contention with Cameron Erving (Florida State) and Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M) for top billing.
If Collins has a predictably strong year for a predictably strong Tiger squad this fall, he could be a top-10 pick, which was a major reason in Collins’ decision-making process.
Collins, a former 5-star prospect coming out of local Redemptorist High School, has been absolutely invaluable to the Tigers during his stead, starting 25 games the last two seasons, at both left guard and left tackle. Having Collins back should help a rebuilding offense that’s losing a 3,000 yard passer (Zach Mettenberger), a 1,000 yard rusher (Jeremy Hill) and two 1,000 yard receivers (Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry).