Fooch's update: This is getting even more interesting -
BREAKING: per @JayGlazer La'el Collins' agents trying to get him pulled from #NFLDraft...clear his name...then enter Supplemental— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) April 30, 2015
The 2015 NFL Draft has had its fair share of players get into trouble in the last month, primarily for marijuana-related offenses. However, one story is officially overshadowing all of them. And it is probably going to overshadow it for some time.
The pregnant ex-girlfriend of LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins was recently shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (the baby survived, thankfully). Collins is NOT a suspect in the case, but the police would like to speak with him to see if he has any information that can help them determine potential suspects. Additionally, it sounds like there will be a DNA test to see if he is the father of the baby.
According to Baton Rouge homicide detectives, Collins has scheduled an interview for sometime after the 2015 NFL Draft. Collins was in Chicago for the draft, but has flown back to Louisiana to deal with what is obviously a serious situation.
Collins's lawyer spoke with ESPN about the situation:
"We took the investigation seriously. We've tried to rule him out as a suspect. We're going to provide that information to the police, and ultimately [Collins] will sit down and talk to them. But the timing is poor. ... We have identified where La'el was the day the lady was murdered to establish he was nowhere around. We have offered to give names, witnesses who can vouch for his whereabouts that day until after the woman's body was discovered. We believe that when [police] have verified that information, that they will rule him out as a suspect in the homicide, just as I believe he should be."
Obviously there are things that are much more important than the draft. Figuring out who killed this woman is of the utmost importance, and this article is not ignoring the seriousness of the situation. Nonetheless, there are draft implications for Collins. He has been projected by many as a first round pick, but given that he will not speak with homicide detectives until next week at the earliest (the cops apparently are still getting information together for the interview), it is possible we see a significant slide for Collins.
I find myself wondering if it is possible he doesn't even get drafted while this is going on. The police could very well completely exonerate him in the near future, but if he has not been 100 percent exonerated by the end of the day Saturday, could see him end up an undrafted free agent? If that happens he would have his choice of teams, but it would also make for an interesting contract negotiation. UDFAs sign three year deals, not four year deals, and of course there is the whole issue of pay based on draft slot.
The San Francisco 49ers met with Collins during the LSU Pro Day, so it would seem he was on their radar to some extent. Albert Breer tweeted that he has spoken to teams that removed Collins entirely from their draft board while this situation remains unresolved.
Again, these are not remotely important issues in light of what is actually going on, but it is unlike anything we have seen in recent draft memory.