La'el Collins may wait an entire year before entering the NFL. He and his representatives have said that if the offensive tackle is not selected in Round 2 or 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft on Friday night, he will not sign with a team this year and instead enter his name in the 2016 draft, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Earlier this week, Collins had to leave Chicago, the site of the 2015 draft, to cooperate with police in Louisiana following the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Police questioned him in connection with the case, but he is not considered a suspect.
Collins is considered one of the top offensive tackle prospects in his class. He was rated as the No. 12 overall prospect in the draft by SB Nation's Dan Kadar, and was thought to be a surefire first-round pick on many draft boards. However, after the story of the murder broke, many NFL teams reportedly considered Collins "undraftable" until his name is cleared in the investigation.
Collins' agent petitioned the NFL to remove his client's name from this year's NFL Draft and enter it in the Supplemental Draft, tentatively scheduled for mid-summer. That request was denied, however, forcing Collins to wait until next year if he wants a wealthy rookie contract commensurate with his talent level if he is passed over for a second straight day.
If a team does select Collins in the second or third round Friday night, it will receive great value relative to Collins' talent. Details of the case do seem to give teams legitimate reason for pause, however.
Collins' ex, Brittany Mills, was reportedly shot multiple times last Friday. She was eight months pregnant, and reports suggest Collins is going back to Louisiana, in part, to determine paternity of the child. The baby was delivered but did not survive treatment, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.