Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan wouldn't call it a luxury, but the second-year offensive assistant believes rookie offensive lineman La'el Collins flying under the radar in training camp is positive.
"It's nice for a young guy like that who's got this great talent to not have to have huge expectations to go in and play right away," Linehan told "Shan & RJ" on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] on Thursday ahead of practice.
Collins was expected to be a first round selection in the 2015 draft, but teams shied away from the All-SEC first-teamer after Baton Rouge police requested him for questioning during draft weekend about the death of ex-girlfriend Brittney Mills. Collins dropped all the way out of the draft, but landed as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys on May 7.
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Though talented and welcomed by veterans such as Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Travis Frederick, Linehan says nothing will be handed to Collins.
"We have five starters on our offensive line that are returning that are going to have something to say about that. They're not going to want to let this young guy go in there and just right away get in there spots.
"It's going to be great competition, but I think the thing we have going for us is we don't have to have him be in there right away, throw him right in the fire if we don't have to. And if he's ready, he's ready. If he's not, he's not. We'll let the competition play its way out."
During offseason practices, Collins spent time with the first team at right tackle as veteran Doug Free recovered from foot surgery. He also swapped with incumbent left guard Ronald Leary. As Free recovers, sources indicate that Collins' best shot to start would be to beat out Leary at left guard.
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