It certainly hasn’t been the NFL draft LSU fans were expecting, but after two days in Chicago, two former Tigers have found new homes in the pros.
And one of those names wasn’t former offensive tackle La’el Collins.
The former Tigers standout lineman went undrafted after three rounds, which means he may sit out for the remainder of the event and re-enter the draft in 2016, according to Collins’ agent.
Meanwhile, another Collins heard his name called on Friday evening.
The first LSU player off the board was cornerback Jalen Collins, who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 42 overall pick in the second round.
One round later, it was former Tigers defensive end Danielle Hunter who was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 88 overall pick.
Collins native had possibly fallen down several draft boards after reports recently surfaced that Collins had failed drug tests at LSU.
Collins confirmed he had three positive drug tests while in college. Details of the tests, including the drug in question, have not been released.
“What I told the Falcons, what I’ve been telling everybody, that stuff is behind me,” Collins said in a telephone interview. “I’ve been making smarter decisions all this past year, trying to become a better person and a better football player and I think it’s been helping me.”
“If you’re talking about talent and motivation, that’s what this kid is going to need to have with the motivation going forward,” Mayock said.
Collins was projected to be picked late in the first round following an impressive Combine performance, where he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, had a 36-inch vertical and a 6.77-second cone drill, which was the best time of any defensive back at the event.
He is a vital pick for a team in need of help in the secondary, considering they allowed an NFL-worst 279.9 passing yards per game in 2014.
“He’s a big, long corner with long arms,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He fits the style of play that (Atlanta coach Dan Quinn) approaches as far as getting a long defensive back that has athleticism, who can get to the ball with very nice ball skills.”
Collins said the Falcons have been his favorite team since the Michael Vick era.
“When I started watching pro football, Michael Vick was one of my favorite players,” Collins said. “After everything went down I just stuck with the team and I’ve been a Dirty Bird ever since.”
Collins said he is working out without restrictions and has no problems after a medical examination at the combine found a problem with his left foot.
“They just found a crack in my foot at the combine,” he said. “We got it fixed and ever since it’s been going great, healing. I’m at 100 percent right now and ready to roll.”
After having a career season his junior year, former Tigers defensive end Danielle Hunter found a new home with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings selected Hunter at No. 88 overall in the third round.
Hunter became a starter at LSU, playing in all 13 games and making 73 tackles (13 for loss), 1.5 sacks and six pass breakups.
Hunter did not work out at the NFL combine in Indianapolis back in February, though he did participate in LSU’s Pro Day, running a 4.57 40 while also collecting 25 reps on the bench press.
The Vikings defensive line recorded a solid 41 sacks in 2014, though where Hunter will likely be needed is on the squad’s run defense.
Minnesota ranked eighth-worst in the league last season with 121.4 rushing ypg allowed.
“(Hunter) was polarizing, positive or negative,” Mayock said. “There’s no doubt that he’s a physical specimen. … He’s got considerable upside. He’s got all the traits you want, but he’s still got to learn how to play football.”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.