NFC East Roundup: The La’el Collins Story

La'el Collins, LSU. Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

La’el Collins, LSU. Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

La’el Collins had the most interesting slide in the 2015 draft, falling from first-round lock to undrafted free agent. Robert Klemko of MMQB reports on how he ended up signing with the Dallas Cowboys:

Accompanied by his mother, Loyetta Collins, and his agent, Deryk Gilmore, La’el arrives at Jerry Jones’ mansion and is greeted by a welcoming party of Cowboys bigwigs, coaches and players.

“The house was as gorgeous as you can imagine,” Gilmore says. “Mr. Jones just sat there and talked. He talked about his background and where he came from, how he’d been through hard times, and how he became the man he was. It was chilling. He said, ‘You go through hard times, and that’s what makes you what you are.’

“He talked about how the media and the world can call for your head, like when he fired Tom Landry, but he made the changes necessary and believed in his people.”

Jones and Collins talk into the night, and Collins understands that he’ll have the chance to start immediately if he can beat out ho-hum left guard Ronald Leary.

Collins decides to sleep on it before making a final decision.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News decided to let their readers come up with a new nickname for their offensive line:

The Dallas Cowboys certainly figure to have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL next season, and newly acquired lineman La’el Collins figures it could be even more than that.

“This is going to be the best offensive line in NFL history,” Collins said last week during his introductory news conference. “Mark my words.”

If it is the best offensive line in NFL history — or just the best offensive line of the next season — they’re going to need a nickname. What should it be?

We asked you to vote and you did. The winner is Great Wall of Dallas 2.0, with 13.73 percent of the vote.

Eli Manning tells Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News that he is sympathetic towards the quarterback he’s beaten twice in the Super Bowl:

Manning said he had read “some” of the reports about the Ted Wells investigation that concluded it was “more probable than not” that [Tom] Brady had cheated. “Obviously it didn’t look good,” Manning said. “I figured something like this may happen.”

He also knew that what happened was obviously big.

“Anytime you lose a starting quarterback for four games and draft picks it’s a pretty big statement,” Manning said. “Obviously the NFL is serious about not messing with the integrity of the game, no matter how big or little the issue is.”

Manning said that since the DeflateGate story broke he’s played around with underinflated footballs “just to see what it feels like, how much a difference it was.”

His conclusion? “Yeah, there is a difference,” he said. “A noticeable difference.”

Jordan Ranaan of looks at how Odell Beckham Jr. is trying to top his stellar rookie season:

But his plan for an encore has nothing to do with individual accolades. Beckham has bigger plans that involve Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California.

“I don’t know. I guess we have to wait and see. I think the biggest goal for me is I felt like I’ve always been great and I’ve always been on good teams but I’ve just never been a champion,” Beckham said during an interview Thursday with the NFL Network’s Kim Jones. “I went 13-0 freshman year and loss in the national championship, 21-0. Things like that; had chances to win it the next year and the year after that, and just have never really gotten to that position.

“I know for a fact that if we could make it there, I just couldn’t see another one slip away. I don’t know if I could live with it. Hopefully we get to the Super Bowl and have a successful season.”

Washington special teams captain Adam Hayward thinks the emphasis on special teams during the draft will help out his unit, writes Mike Jones:

And so, in the final four rounds of the draft, Redskins officials added wide receiver Jamison Crowder, safety Kyshoen Jarrett, linebacker Martrell Spaight, wide receiver Evan Spencer and cornerback Tevin Mitchel, who all played key roles on their college special-teams units.

Each of those players, during their draft-day interviews, talked about a willingness to compete on special teams, and how they relish such roles.

Hayward said those types of mind-sets are exactly what the Redskins need if they expect to turn things around.

“It’s very important,” said Hayward, who for the past eight seasons has made a living in the NFL by excelling on special teams. “You see how there were a lot of games that came down to it. Look at Philly. I mean, start of the game there was a big special-teams play.”

Washington first-round pick Brandon Scherff has a fan in Jason Hatcher:

Redskins draft pick Brandon Scherff is big, tough and plays with attitude.

In other words, he’s Jason Hatcher’s kind of football player.

“I think that was—excuse my French—I think that was a hell of a pick,” Hatcher said this week on Redskins Nation. “He’s going to help us out a lot. I watched him on film [and] he’s a very aggressive and violent person.”

“If he gets you in a vulnerable situation,” Hatcher added, “he’s going to finish you. He’s nasty. And that’s what you expect out of your right tackle.”