Would-have-been first round pick La’el Collins finished his rookie season as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting left guard, but Collins hopes his winning the starting job is just the beginning.
Last spring, Collins went undrafted because he was questioned in connection to the murder of an ex-girlfriend in Louisiana, despite the fact that he was never a suspect in the case. It was a monumental turn of bad luck for the LSU product, and good luck for the Cowboys. Jerry Jones had Collins and his mother for dinner, along with Tony Romo and much of the offensive line, and he was signed shortly thereafter.
"Definitely made some progress in the direction of where I want to be as a player," Collins said of his rookie season, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "Now, knowing that, take that from this year and be able to apply it to next year."
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Collins views this offseason as a crucial one to his counting development.
"Being able to have that experience just puts you in position to know what you're getting yourself into," Collins said. "This offseason is going to be huge, preparing the right way. … There's so much room for me to grow in my game physically and so much more room for me to grow mentally. As a young player I haven't scratched the surface of the real complete player I want to become."