LSU's La'el Collins, once thought of as a likely first-round pick, was not selected at all during the 2015 NFL Draft.
Collins is scheduled to meet with Baton Rouge (Louisiana) police in connection with the shooting death of a 29-year-old pregnant woman, Brittany Mills. He is not a suspect in the case, and had a previous relationship with Mills. NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Collins will meet with authorities after the draft.
Collins' representatives had told clubs that Collins would refuse to sign with a team that drafted him outside the third round and that Collins would simply re-enter the draft in 2016. However, that is not an option according to NFL rules, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday. Teams were wary of drafting Collins until they know more information. The opinion across football has been relatively simple: Wait until the investigation process runs its course.
Collins' case is unprecedented in part because of the timing and because of his talent on the field. His playing comparison to Maurkice Pouncey and a brutal display of power and body control on film made him a no-brainer for so many teams coming into the draft that were looking for help across their offensive line.
Marc Ross, the Giants' director of college scouting, summed the process up perfectly: "We thought about La'el the whole time, because he's sitting up there," he told reporters in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Saturday. "But we were going to pass on that."
Collins will theoretically be available to sign as an undrafted free agent if he is cleared legally. But the amount that a team could pay him would be heavily limited by NFL rules governing undrafted free agents.
So for now, as we enter a white-knuckle period for player reps who are rapidly fielding calls for undrafted free agents, Collins' status remains a mystery.
NFL general managers were first informed about the situation on Tuesday, according to Rapoport. Included in the note to GMs was information that a woman Collins knew, Mills, was murdered. Mills was pregnant and the baby initially survived, but the infant died Friday, per Baton Rouge police. The police are now trying to determine parental responsibility. The note said that Collins had not contacted Mills since September.