In his latest mock draft 2.0, ESPN Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr. has the Indianapolis Colts selecting LSU offensive tackle La’El Collins through ESPN Insider (subscription). The 6’4″, 308 pound Collins is highly regarded for his run blocking, as Kiper calls him “arguably the best run-blocker in the draft”:
"29 La’El Collins, Indianapolis Colts (11-5), COLLEGE: LSU Class: SrHT: 6-4 WT: 308 POS: TAnalysis: The Colts did a good job of adding immediate impact even without a first-round pick in the 2014 draft. And while they saw improvement along the offensive line last season, it’s still a below-average pass protection unit and a group that could better help the run game be more consistent. The Colts could go a few directions here, but Collins would be a nice value as arguably the best run-blocker in the draft (next to Scherff) at offensive tackle, and a guy that I believe has the ability to remain at tackle and be a good one (even as I know some project him to end up at guard). Creating a situation where they truly have a balanced offense would pay dividends for the defense, too, and Collins can help in that respect."
If selected, he’d ideally be the long-term successor to starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who struggled last season due to injuries and perhaps even age. However, it’s possible that Collins could make an immediate contribution to the Colts offensive line if he’s as good as initially advertised, even kicking in at guard from the start where he has prior experience.
Collins was a Coaches/AP 1st-Team All-SEC member in 2014 and was a CBS Sports Freshman All-American in 2011. The 21 year old was a 3-year starter along the Tigers offensive line, making 38 starts. He started as a left guard as a sophomore, but then moved to left tackle as a junior and senior. He was also the recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is annually presented to the top offensive lineman in the SEC as voted by the conference’s coaches.
Regarding Collins, he’s already saying the right things to impress prospective NFL coaches in the draft process:
"“I want to be the best tackle in the game. I’m going to continue to work and prepare myself that way. I want to come in and learn everything that I need to know and get on the field as early as possible. I want a team to be able to trust me that I can get myself on the field and be ready to go. Everything else, I’ll take from there.”"