2015 NFL Mock Draft: La’el Collins to Bengals


In Fansided’s most recent mock draft, the Bengals select La’el Collins with the 21st selection.

Fansided’s most recent NFL mock draft should make Bengals fans happy.  Fansided’s Ryan Lehrman has the Bengals selecting Louisiana State offensive tackle La’el Collins at number 21.

La’el Collins has been a fan favorite selection basically throughout the draft process, and even before then for some fans, and for good reason.  The Bengals are in need of a new swing tackle after the Marshall Newhouse experiment failed miserably.  La’el Collins has the ability to play both of these spots, though he is a better fit at right tackle.  Nonetheless, he could certainly fill in for Andrew Whitworth in a pinch.

But La’el Collins’ versatility doesn’t stop there.  Many draft pundits believe that Collins would become a very good guard at the next level.  CBS compares him to Seattle Seahawks guard James Carpenter while his NFL.com draft profile compares him to Maurkice Pouncey.  Collins could also fill-in at either guard spot for the Bengals if necessary.  Considering the amount of injuries the team has suffered over the past couple of seasons, and how many of their linemen will become free agents over the next couple of off-seasons, Collins’ presence would be a huge help.

Collins also possesses a skill set that the Bengals look for.  Beyond the fact that Cincinnati prioritizes versatility in their players, Collins also would fit the team’s power running system.  Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson likes to run the ball and Collins to a mammoth offensive lineman who has a special penchant for run blocking.  He’s a mauler who can drive players off the ball and will open up significant lanes for a familiar running back in Jeremy Hill; Collins and Hill played together at LSU.  Hue Jackson would certainly love having Collins along his offensive line.

If any, the one downside to drafting Collins is he wouldn’t start right away for Cincinnati.  The Bengals often “red shirt” their rookies; they prefer to allow them a year to get acclimated to the rigors of NFL life.

The Bengals also have each of their tackles under contract for the 2015 season.  Also, at least right guard Kevin Zeitler is under contract for 2015, and the Bengals would like to re-sign left guard Clint Boling this off-season.  Drafting Collins means waiting a year for a starting spot.

The fallout from his selection also means the team is likely moving on from one of its tackles.  Andrew Whitworth will turn 34 next season, so the team must begin to foster his replacement anyway.  But Collins would fit better at right tackle, so his selection could mean the end of Andre Smith in Cincinnati.

Smith in only 28 and is generally good when on the field, but there is a contingent of fans who wouldn’t shed a tear over his exit.  Smith has struggled with injuries at a few points during his career and will be returning from a torn triceps this year.  He’s driven fans crazy at times with his absence from off-season activities over the years.  Whether its justified or not, it’s led many fans to question his dedication to his craft.

Many fans would prefer a year one starter such as a defensive tackle, something I personally would enjoy, but the Bengals could do little better when drafting Collins.  His presence would help ensure the continuation of the offensive line’s dominance going forward, and would bolster a flourishing run game.  The Bengals will likely be awarded to extra selections this year (compensatory picks), so they could always address the defense in subsequent rounds.  La’el Collins would be an incredible addition for the Bengals.

Next: Bengals Must Re-Sign Clint Boling

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