When the Dallas Cowboys signed La’el Collins on Thursday, they added a first round-quality pick to an already loaded offensive line group. So how and where does he fit in?
Collins played left guard early on in his career at LSU before moving to left tackle, where he started for the past two years. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett expressed confidence after the signing that he could play either in the NFL, that ultimately the Cowboys will start the five best of the group.
“He’s played both positions in college,” Garrett said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “He has the skill set to play both positions in the NFL. We’re going to play our five best offensive linemen, and we’re going to figure out who those guys are. He’s going to have an opportunity to play both.”
Assuming Collins will start, the Cowboys will essentially have four first round picks on the offensive line, in Collins, left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin. But the team is high on the group as a whole, not just the starters.
They drafted tackle Chaz Green out of Florida in the third round, presumably to take over Jermey Parnell’s old job as swing tackle, and Virginia Tech tackle Laurence Gibson in the seventh--a pair of players Jerry Jones seems to love joining a group he’s very excited about.
“We’re going to have some great competition,” Jones said. “I’m so excited. It was one of the things I was happiest about was Green and then about Gibson ... Gibson’s one of the best athletes I’ve seen in the offensive line. So we’ve got a chance to really have our depth there. And if we should have done well there, we’ve really got a chance to put together something very special relative to an offensive line.”