The Saints liked some of the things La’el Collins accomplished at LSU. They might have even considered him at some point to play guard for the team, considering there’s a need at the position.
But since his name popped up in the investigation of a shooting death of a pregnant Baton Rouge woman, whose infant child recently died after being born, the situation has become very complicated for teams to navigate.
New Orleans coach Sean Payton is among those who are scratching their heads right now.
“I don’t know, with what we know, how to answer your question fairly,” Payton said when asked if he’d take Collins in the seventh round. “I think it’s a good question; I don’t know that we would consider that right now until we had more clarity.
“It seems like there’s a rush for everyone, and one of the things I said this morning is that we are right down the road, are we able to get some information that other teams don’t have yet? I haven’t had that or gotten that information yet to answer that as a yes.”
Payton was then asked if he felt there was a hypersensitivity regarding Collins since former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was recently convicted of murder.
“I don’t think that hypersensitivity is the right word,” Payton said. “This is a week before the draft and, certainly, this is a very serious matter. My understanding is that the baby passed away today.
“I understand the protocol of the NFL, but this is significant, and there’s just a lack of information right now. I might be wrong for commenting on it now, but that’s just the truth. With what we do or don’t know right now, we would be hard pressed to make a decision like that, and that’s just being honest.”
Collins was projected by many to be selected in the first round of the draft. With three rounds in the books, he remains undrafted.
Collins’ agent recently said his client would not sign with the team that drafts him if it happened after the third round. If he is selected and refuses to sign, he would be eligible to enter the 2016 draft.
If Collins goes undrafted, he would be eligible to sign as a free agent, though there are rules the limit how much undrafted players can make to prevent teams from getting into bidding wars.