Courtesy of USA Today Sports

Never one to shy away from controversy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is reportedly pushing hard for his new team to pick up offensive tackle La’el Collins out of LSU.

Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin provided this nugget:

Collins, as most know, went undrafted this past weekend due to his involvement in a murder investigation. He spoke to police after the draft, and nobody knew where that would lead.

He wasn’t—and isn’t expected to be—charged in any way as it relates to the harrowing case, but he has yet to be fully cleared. And while Collins is not a suspect, uncertainty surrounding his attachment to the case caused NFL general managers to steer clear of the stud lineman during the draft.

Before the sudden and unexpected news broke just days before the draft, Collins was projected by most analysts as a potential top-15 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

He’s already reportedly met with Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, and it seems logical to assume he’ll be a hot free-agent target now that he’s on the open market.

Winston knows he needs a lineman of Collins’ caliber protecting his blind side, if he has any hope of thriving as the starting quarterback for the Bucs in his rookie campaign. Tampa Bay currently features a rag-tag group of offensive linemen—especially at offensive tackle—and there’s no doubt Collins would be an upgrade on the edge.

It remains to be seen how this whole thing will play out for Collins. But if Winston gets his way, and if everything checks out for the embattled offensive lineman, then the Buccaneers will certainly be better on the field when the games begin this fall.

Photo: USA Today Sports