LSU Offensive Tackle La’el Collins Visiting Baltimore Ravens
By Brett Foote
Offensive line may be a position of strength for the Ravens, but injuries last season exposed a need for depth. The team is bound to explore its options and is a good bet to draft at least one tackle or guard in April. One player who could wind up in Baltimore is LSU tackle La’el Collins, who is scheduled to visit with the Ravens.
Spending a high draft pick on an offensive lineman may seem like a luxury for a team that is needy at corner, tight end, and wide receiver, but the Ravens have shown a propensity to ignore need in the past when it comes to the draft. Fans may not be happy if the team spent it’s first round pick on Collins, but as one of the top blockers in the draft, they might have to if they truly want him.
An aggressive blocker with sound technique, La’el Collins is currently viewed as a tackle by evaluators but he has the ability to play guard as well. That’s the kind of versatility that teams covet, especially teams like the Ravens. Injuries last season forced them to shuffle the lineup several times, but their versatility hid the kind of deficiencies that could have derailed other groups.
Collins is a big man at 6’5″ and 308 pounds, but he moves well for his size. He recorded a 5.12 second 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, and managed a 27 inch vertical and 9′ broad jump. Collins also completed 21 reps on the bench. Perhaps the biggest knock on Collins is lack of pass blocking ability, but he has shown improvement in that area over the course of his career.
It may enrage fans, but the Ravens could certainly make worse moves than drafting La’el Collins. Nobody thought that the team needed to draft a linebacker in the first round last season, of course, but that turned out pretty good by all indications. And if the injury bug strikes again in 2015, quality depth in the trenches is what will keep this train on the tracks.
Next: Ravens state of the corps: offensive line
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