Dallas Cowboys: Moving La'el Collins To RT Is A Mistake ⋆
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Dallas Cowboys: Moving La’el Collins To RT Is A Mistake

La'el Collins

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Dallas Cowboys: Moving La’el Collins To RT Is A Mistake

Dallas Cowboys: Moving La’el Collins To RT Is A Mistake

I know I’m going to be in the minority here, but I truly believe moving La’el Collins to right tackle is a mistake by the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve tried this experiment before when they signed Collins as an undrafted free agent, and determined then his best position was on the inside at guard. So, what has changed since then?

Well, Doug Free decided to hang up his cleats in the off-season, which left a void at the right tackle position. Many Cowboys’ fans have openly celebrated Free’s retirement, but they may sing a different tune once the 2017 season kicks off.

You see, Doug Free’s retirement and Ronald Leary’s departure via free agency has now created two open spots on the Cowboys offensive line. Yes, they still have Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin to anchor the OL, but Dallas’ coaching staff is having to shuffle things around in order to find the best starting five.

I’m a firm believer that La’el Collins’ best position in the NFL is at offensive guard. In fact, if not for the foot injury that wiped out nearly his entire 2016 season, he likely would have been named to his first Pro Bowl. That is why I believe he should be reinserted at left guard immediately.

You simply don’t take a potential Pro Bowl caliber player from one position and put them at another one. But, it’s starting to look as if that is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys are doing.

I think at best, Collins is probably an average right tackle in the NFL. I’m not even sure if he will be an upgrade over Doug Free. Collins couldn’t unseat Free before, but now he’s the best option? Does this not concern anyone else?

La'el Collins

(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

La’el Collins hasn’t recorded a single NFL snap at right tackle in his career. But, fans are already sold on him as he starting RT, despite the fact the Dallas Cowboys haven’t even put on pads yet. That’s a lot of faith to put in someone who has yet to prove much of anything as of yet in the NFL, especially at right tackle.

Whatever the Dallas Cowboys decide to do with La’el Collins will likely shape the success the offense will have in 2017. This decision will impact every facet of how the Cowboys’ offense operates. Yes, I believe it is that important.

Collins is the only player on the Cowboys roster who can play left guard and improve the position after Ronald Leary’s departure. Anyone else is probably a downgrade, which impacts both the running and passing game.

I just don’t really think there is any need for Collins to play RT. There are options available that I believe can play the position just as well. In fact, Chaz Green was drafted to take over for Doug Free. He is likely the best option if he can remain healthy.

I’m hoping that this is just a trial run the Dallas Cowboys are giving La’el Collins and that nothing is set in stone as of yet. I personally don’t really like the move, but I understand why others do.

Fortunately, there is still quite a bit of off-season left to work things out. But, I for one am hoping to see La’el Collins lined up between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith on the left side in 2017. I think it’s what is best for not only Collins, but for the entire Cowboys’ offense.

Do you agree or disagree?

Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

18 Comments
  • I’m Okay w La’el @ RT

    Personally, I think this is nothing more than homage to the ‘Versatility Gods’ that the Cowboys seem to worship, at least on the O line. BY TC they will have multiple players that can play both LG & RT to offset the injury bug.

    I don’t share your high opinion of Collins @ LG. He is not better than Leary @ that spot.

    • Brian Martin

      Collins was still developing as a LG. I think he would’ve ended up being better than Leary and been in the Pro Bowl conversation last season if he remained healthy. But, I agree that the Cowboys will have multiple players being looked at in training camp at LG and RT. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Travis Diggs

    I believe even tho we have the best offensive line in the league, it was clear Doug Free was the weak link. So why would us as fans think Collins couldnt do better than him??? We have come accustomed to Chaz green injuries, Cooper was a first round bust, and Bell is fighting just to make weight incentives. Unless Cleary takes over one of the spots, We expect Collins to be the clear cut starter out right

    • Brian Martin

      Travis, I agree with what you said, but I’m not sure Collins is better than Free. I do believe Collins is an upgrade at LG, but now he’s being looked at as the RT. I think the OG spot is more important to the running game and keeping the pocket clean for Prescott to step up and make a throw. I understand the optimism about Collins at RT, but I personally don’t see it.

      • Travis Diggs

        I believe we have one of the best coaching staffs So i think they will put the best 5 guys out there If they believe Collins is well suited for Tackle I trust them. The only reason why he is out there is because of uncertainty of Chaz Green. Come training camp we will know

        • Brian Martin

          Travis, I agree. I think Green’s health will ultimately decide what they do with Collins. Fortunately, there still a lot of off-season left to figure things out.

  • Randy Martin

    Your assertion is misplaced Brian. Your idea that he will not be good at RT assumes that he hit his ceiling his dokie year. You stated they tried it and it didn’t work. Well, let’s not forget he was a deer in the headlights rookie. There was some talk on one of shows that Bryan Broaddus is on before this move was even made that stated he is likely an all-pro guard and an average tackle but over time they seemed to change their time. I choose to believe that he needs reps and snaps, and he is improving physically in what is now his third year and he is more physically and mentally prepared for it. The beauty of OTA’s and training camp and pre-season is so that you can try these type of things and see if it will work. Do you believe that the coaching staff would purposely make a move such as this and leave it in place if they thought it would cause the offense to regress? Collins played tackle in college and I have every confidence he can play it in the NFL. Give it some time my friend. Its not like they can’t move him back to guard if it doesn’t work but based on early indications he has looked pretty good there.

    • Brian Martin

      Randy, I’m not saying that I don’t believe Collins could be a good RT. I just believe that he is a better LG and that it would benefit the Cowboys offense more. I think Chaz Green can play RT just as well as Collins if he can remain healthy. I think the best five OL is Smith, Collins, Frederick, Martin, and Green. But, like you said, only time will tell. There is still a lot of off-season left to figure things out.

  • Anthony Ceniccola

    i want to think that he can transition to RT, i understand his reach is the concern but he made a name as a tackle in college. I think he may eventually be an upgrade to free but it would have been a bigger uphill battle to be an upgrade to leary.

    • Brian Martin

      Anthony, I’m going to have to disagree. I think Collins is already an upgrade over Leary, although it may be just a slight one. He was just getting used to playing OG when he suffered the foot injury that wiped out his 2016 season. I’m not saying he can’t be a good RT, I just think he is a better LG.

  • Kevin Black

    I’m going with the opposite argument for Collins at RT. Collins was a solid LT in college and while he doesn’t project as a premier LT in the NFL, he was considered by some to be usable as a LT. Dallas prefers guards who are light on their feet and Collins gives them that. That quality is what also allows Collins to perform as a RT in this offense. With more and more pass rushers ending up going against the offense’s RT, this is probably the best move for Dallas. Finding a quality RT is much harder than finding a LG. On top of that, the RT is on a bit of an island, although you could have a TE help, that’s less than ideal. With the LG, you put them between two AllPro’s and gives you a bit of protection there that the RT doesn’t have.

    If Cooper can regain his form, which is a pretty big if at this point, then Dallas will win the Offensive Line Lotto once again. If not, there are enough bodies to help there. I don’t think the RT talent outside of Collins is dependable enough to not move Collins to RT. Green has shown he can do it, but he’s also shown he can’t stay healthy.

    • Brian Martin

      Kevin, that’s as good of an assessment as I’ve read anywhere. I’m not against playing Collins at RT, I just think he is more valuable at LG. I think Chaz Green would do just as well at RT as Collins, but his health is a concern. Fortunately we have the rest of the off-season to sort things out.

    • ThePsychodad69

      Well they did get Columbo back to what they thought he could be, Leary for all the prognostication became a very good player, actually we will see if either Free or Leary were weakspots or if Parcells was right about not having steak on every plate, but a nice lamb chop or turkey leg isn’t so bad when you look at what the rest of the league puts on the table.

      • Brian Martin

        Free and Leary were definitely weak spots, but who wouldn’t be playing with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin ha ha. I’m just hoping that whoever fills those two open roster spots on the OL isn’t a huge downgrade.

  • ThePsychodad69

    Just like moving LA to OT, not his best position but the best there now. If Green isnt wowing them @ guard his chances outside are even worse. IMO he wasn’t great and Zeke got on track once Leary got in, I thought he hurt it before the Giants game in practice, if so him playing probably finished it off.

    But why not give him snaps now and see what he can do, if he’s a reach come camp then we have a problem. Better if they find out now than 3wks into Oxnard.

    • Brian Martin

      The entire offensive line struggled in the early part of the season. It took them a little while to get going and it wasn’t just Collins that struggled. I have no problem giving Collins reps at RT right now, but I still believe his best position is LG. It’s good to get him snaps now, but I think the Cowboys are downgrading two positions if he stays at RT.

  • tom

    versatility is something they should explore for Collins. We know what we have in Green at RT and Bell is not better than Green. So why not try Collins at RT and Green at LG. If the experiment fails, put Collins back to LG. In the end, we need to see if Collins gets long term contract with $$$ freed up by Romo release. And teams pay more $$$ for RT than LG.

    • Brian Martin

      The Cowboys coaching staff is definitely exploring their options, but in the end I still believe Collins is better at LG.

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