Extra Points: ‘Dateline NFL,’ whispers derail Collins

(SportsNetwork.com) – Talented LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins was either
done in by circumstance or iniquity on Thursday night at the NFL Draft.

And the fact that we don’t know which is the problem.

We have all watched enough “Dateline NBC” to understand when the pregnant
woman who may have been your ex-girlfriend is murdered, you are going to have
to answer a few questions.

Collins has not been labeled a suspect by Louisiana authorities in the
investigation surrounding the shooting death of 29-year-old Brittany Mills,
but it’s hard to fault NFL teams for pumping the brakes on a kid who could
have gone in the first half of the opening round and certainly wouldn’t have
lasted no longer than No. 21 overall where Cincinnati selected Texas A&M
tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, a lesser-regarded prospect who is coming off ACL
surgery.

Investigators doing their jobs cost Collins millions as team after team erased
the big man from their draft boards, a necessity due to the uncertainty of the
situation.

You want to give people the benefit of the doubt but when Keith Morrison is
preparing to knock on the door, it’s probably a good idea not to cut the
seven-figure check to the guy who is going to have the cameras in his face.

For now police claim they only want to talk to Collins to see if he can
provide them with information and organizations are taking the wait-and-see
approach, the only logical path.

Mills was shot to death on April 24 and there are whispers that Collins could
be the father of her baby, which was delivered successfully. He was scheduled
to attend the draft on Thursday but left Chicago early in an effort to
cooperate and clear his name.

Collins’ agent, aware of his impending free-fall, attempted to remove his
client from the draft pool with an eye on the league’s supplemental draft.
Wary of the slippery slope that could create, however, the NFL denied the
request.

Meanwhile, because Collins has already been an “eligible” entry into the 2015
draft, he can’t withdraw.

Of course none of this will matter if Collins is tied to a murder but if he’s
just one of the unluckiest people in the world who happened to be close to a
woman who was murdered days before his lottery ticket was set to be cashed,
he’s really got only two options: move forward after taking a massive
financial hit or sit out the ’15 season and re-enter the 2016 draft.

CHARACTER CONCERNS

Two other players with significant character concerns, Washington cornerback
Marcus Peters and Missouri edge defender Shane Ray, overcame their personal
hurdles and were selected in the first round.

Many considered Peters the best corner prospect in the draft but he was kicked
off the UW football team in the middle of last season. Kansas City, desperate
for secondary help, ignored any concerns and tabbed Peters at No. 18 overall,
the third CB taken behind Trae Waynes (Minnesota, No. 11) and Kevin Johnson
(Houston, No. 16).

Ray, meanwhile, probably cost himself millions by being cited for marijuana
possession four days before the draft. Atlanta was very interested in the pass
rusher at No. 8 overall but balked in favor of Clemson’s Vic Beasley.

Ray, though, still managed to find his way in the first round when the Broncos
traded up to take him 23rd overall, giving up veteran offensive lineman Manny
Ramirez and a couple late-round picks to Detroit.

No one took chances on two other red-flagged prospects with first-round
talent, Nebraska pass-rusher Randy Gregory and Missouri receiver Dorial Green-
Beckham.

FIRST-ROUND DRAFT DISH

-Tampa Bay selected James Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, the first
Florida State quarterback to ever make it to the top of the draft board. The
Bucs are hoping Winston has more success than the only other two FSU QBs to go
in the first round, Christian Ponder (to Minnesota in 2011) and E.J. Manuel
(to Buffalo in 2013).

-Three Washington players were selected in Round 1 or the first time — Nose
tackle Danny Shelton (No. 12; Cleveland), Peters (No. 18; Kansas City) and
linebacker/safety Shaq Thompson (No. 25; Carolina).

-Southern California defensive lineman Leonard Williams (No. 6; New York Jets)
and wide receiver Nelson Agholor (No. 20; Philadelphia) were both selected in
the first round. The Trojans have now had 68 players selected in the first
round, the most in the common draft era which began 1967. Miami-Florida is
next with 58.

THE BIG BOARD:

Here are the top players left on the board as Round 2 approaches:

1. La’el Collins, OT, LSU

2. Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

3. Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

4. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma

5. Landon Collins, S, Alabama

6. Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon

7. Eli Harold, LB, Virginia

8. Eric Rowe, DB, Utah

9. Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota

10. Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

11. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

12. Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State

13. Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State

14. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

15. Mario Edwards, Jr, DT, Florida State

16. Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State

17. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana

18. Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami-Florida

19. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

20. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh