La'el Collins getting shot to win Cowboys' tackle gig

The Dallas Cowboys must replace two pieces on the best offensive line from 2016. Right tackle Doug Free retired and left guard Ronald Leary left in free agency.

La'el Collins was slated to return to his guard spot, but with offseason workouts in their early stages, the third-year pro is getting a run at right tackle.

"I've talked to Coach [Jason Garrett] about it, and he just told me that going into it, that's where he wants me to be," Collins said Sunday, via the team's official website. "He wants me to give it my all and we'll see where it goes. So that's what we're going to do."

Collins played tackle during his college career at LSU. Giving the 23-year-old a shot to swipe the right tackle gig is a sign the team wasn't comfortable with Chaz Green taking over the role.

"I actually forgot how good it felt to be out on the edge -- to be out there on that island," Collins said. "Right now, we're not doing too much, we're just kind of working plays against air and that's about it. But it feels good."

If Collins starts the season at tackle, it opens the door for perennially disappointing former first-round pick Jonathan Cooper to earn the guard spot.

The reshuffling of the Cowboys' offensive line is a reminder that the best blocking unit last season might not be quite as good in 2017. If Collins takes well to the tackle role, however, he could be an upgrade on Free, the weakest link in last year's group.