After failing to get his name removed from the draft altogether Thursday, Collins' representatives said Friday he would re-enter the draft in 2016 if he was not selected in either the second or third round. However, an NFL spokesman said Collins cannot enter next year's draft and that if he is not picked this year, he will become a free agent.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder originally asked to pull his name from the draft, with the intention of returning to Louisiana to be questioned about the shooting death of a pregnant woman in Baton Rouge. Police said Tuesday that Collins is not believed to be a suspect in her death.
Brittney Mills, 29, is believed to be a former girlfriend of Collins, and although she died in the shooting, her baby was delivered. The infant later died, Baton Rouge police said Friday. Police are trying to determine whether Collins was the father of the child and if he can provide any possible information on Mills' death.
"We have identified where La'el was the day the lady was murdered to establish he was nowhere around," Collins' attorney, Jim Boren, told ESPN. "We have offered to give names, witnesses who can vouch for his whereabouts that day until after the woman's body was discovered. We believe that when [police] have verified that information, that they will rule him out as a suspect in the homicide, just as I believe he should be."
Projected to be a first-round pick, Collins remained undrafted at the conclusion of the third round Friday night.
Addressing Collins' prospects for Saturday's final rounds, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said: "I don't know that, with what we know, to answer your question fairly, I don't know that we would consider [drafting Collins] right now until we had more clarity."
Collins had hoped to drop out of the NFL draft and be entered into this summer's supplemental draft. He is thought to be the first player to try to pull out of the draft on the day of the event.
The NFL has no precedent or procedure for such a move under draft rules; once a player becomes eligible for the draft, there is no procedure for removal.
In fact, draft rules agreed upon with the players' union specify that the draft cannot be bypassed for the supplemental draft.
Information from ESPN's Kelly Naqi and Mike Triplett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.