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Film Breakdown: La'el Collins Is The Bengals' Best Right Tackle Since Willie Anderson

The 28-year-old is going to give Cincinnati a big boost in the trenches.

After what feels like an eternity, La’el Collins is a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

This move was written down with pencil since he was made available, but now we can use a sharpie because the 28-year-old is Joe Burrow's "newest bodyguard."

Collins is one of the most talented right tackles in the National Football League. He should be the best right tackle to play for the Bengals since Willie Anderson wore No. 71 in Cincinnati. 

There's a new No. 71 in town. Let's dive into the film as to what Collins will bring to the Bengals.

Where He Excels

  • He loves to knock players onto their face either using his snatch trap technique or by smacking them on naked boots. He will often take a player out early in the rep with these techniques.
  • He plays with patient hands and will wait for the defender to throw out their move before punching and engaging them. This helps him against edge rushers who love to swipe, cross chop, and use other moves that are made to beat the hands of the offensive lineman.
  • Collins provides some power in the run game. He is able to displace defenders and take them where they do not want to go. He can do this both on combination blocks and when he is on his own.
  • He can anchor in to take on any bull rush from a defender. He quickly drops his hips and gets lower than the defender so that they cannot drive him backwards. It’s like running into a brick wall.
  • Collins does a nice job to mirror defenders with his short area quickness. He shuffles his feet quickly and can follow a defender inside and outside as they try to go around him. These last three areas all combine to make him a very talented pass protector.
  • He has an explosive punch when he hits defenders. He will often stop defenders in their tracks while trying to pass rush with it or he can knock a defender over a gap when he makes initial contact.

Areas of Concern

  • Sometimes he'll overset the defender and give up a track to the inside. This is not something you want to do as an offensive lineman because the quickest way to the quarterback is through the inside. Will need to do a better job maintaining an inside-half relationship with his assignment.
  • He two hand punches more than I would like to see. He has the ability to use independent hands but will fall back on a 2 hand punch at times which can be taken advantage of by highly skilled defenders.
  • Collins was suspended five games in 2021 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Scheme Fit

Collins is an immaculate fit for the Bengals. He's athletic and can play at the second level, works very well on his combination blocks, and can displace defenders horizontally or vertically. This makes him fit like a glove for wide zone. When it comes to pass protection, the only thing that he really lacks for Frank Pollack is length. His arms are just over 33 inches long which is decent, but not exactly what they are looking for in that area. Other than that he should work out well.

Overall Thoughts

Collins is arguably one of the five best right tackles in the entire NFL. He should provide upside and stability to the Bengals' offensive line and is immediately the best member unit.

He should team up with right guard Alex Cappa to provide some powerful double teams and combination blocks as they are both powerful and work well in that area. He has the athleticism to really dominate at the second level. Joe Mixon should see holes and running lanes that he hasn't seen during his first five seasons with the Bengals. 

Collins will also give the Bengals the ability to put one or both of their tackles on an island in pass protection. Unless he is facing someone who could specifically give him trouble, he can be trusted on an island in 1-on-1 situations. This allows the Bengals to allocate their resources elsewhere along the offensive line to help them out.

This signing moves Cincinnati from just having a passable offensive line into having one of the better units in the league. I wouldn’t say it’s an elite group, but this should be a night and day difference from what was provided last season.

For more on the signing, watch the video below and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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