MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just a few short weeks ago, offensive lineman La’el Collins was a hot prospect that many thought would be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.READ MORE: BSO Detectives Look For Clues In Suspected Road Rage Shooting On I-75
That changed when the former LSU standout was linked to a pregnant ex-girlfriend who had been recently murdered.
Though Collins is not considered a suspect, no NFL team was willing to take a chance on drafting him while the situation was still unresolved.
Collins met with authorities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Monday and afterwards police said that the 21-year-old “fully cooperated with investigators and is still not considered a suspect” in the murder case.
Following the meeting reports began to surface that Collins was scheduled to meet with some NFL teams in order for him to determine where he will ultimately want to sign, assuming he gets cleared of any wrongdoing in the ongoing investigation.
Monday night Collins met with Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan. Tuesday he is scheduled to meet with the Miami Dolphins, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
The Dolphins were considering drafting Collins until the legal issues surfaced and now are planning on making a run at signing him.
The most any team can offer Collins, an undrafted free agent, is $1.58 million over three years.
Collins will ultimately have to decide what team he wants to begin his NFL career with. In Miami, he would fill a glaring need on the offensive line as the Dolphins have no clear-cut starters at either guard position.
There are a few things working in the Dolphins favor as teams will try to sell themselves to the 6’4”, 305-pound lineman.
Miami’s new vice president of football operations, Mike Tannenbaum, was a partner with Priority Sports, the same agency that is representing Collins.
The Dolphins also have a couple of players who share the same LSU roots as Collins, such as linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Johnson has been active on twitter, re-tweeting several messages regarding Collins coming to play in Miami.
Sheppard took a more direct route, sending out a tweet of his own that showed his desire to have Collins as a teammate.
“Need the whole 954/305 to reach out and support my LSU fam (Collins) and get him to Miami,” Sheppard said on Twitter.READ MORE: Miramar-Based Spirit Airlines Tells Shareholders To Reject Hostile Bid From JetBlue
Collins played both tackle and guard while in college and could end up playing either position for the Dolphins.
He could take one of the two vacant guard spots or he could play right tackle, moving last year’s first round pick Ja’Wuan James back to guard, where he played mostly in college.
It’s also worth noting that James may end up starting the season as Miami’s left tackle if Branden Albert’s surgically repaired right knee isn’t ready by September.
Regardless of where he would play, Collins would be a welcome addition to the Dolphins offensive line that has made Ryan Tannehill the most sacked quarterback in the NFL over the past three seasons.
For now, Collins will do his due diligence and meet with as many teams as he likes while trying to figure out what the best landing spot will be.
There will be no shortage of interest and he will likely have his pick of the litter, assuming he gets cleared by authorities in Louisiana.
If and when that happens, all the Dolphins can do is plead their case and hope that he likes the idea of playing in tax-free Florida with several of his ‘LSU fam’ for a team that is on the upswing.
It appears that the Dolphins are not sending any team officials to meet with Collins just yet, but that didn’t stop three former LSU football players who just happen to play pro ball in Miami from jumping on a private jet that’s heading for Baton Rouge.
Three former Tigers, Jarvis Landry, Kelvin Sheppard and Anthony Johnson, along with team captain and starting center Mike Pouncey, have posted on Instagram that they are heading to Louisiana to meet with Collins and recruit him to play for the Dolphins.
Collins met with the Dolphins during his pre-draft visit so he’s already got an idea of who and what he’d be dealing with should he decide to play for Miami, but this kind of recruiting trip may give them the edge.
There’s nothing like a group of your friends telling you how amazing it would be for everyone to team up in a great place like South Florida.MORE NEWS: Police ID Man Killed In Deadly Hit & Run Near Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
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