The biggest SEC news in the days and even hours leading up to the NFL draft involves off-field happenings with three potential first-round players.

The most notable is La’el Collins, a surefire first-round pick with tremendous strength as a run blocker, likely an instant starter at left tackle — or maybe right tackle, or maybe guard.

Collins is believed to be romantically linked to Brittney Mills, a 29-year-old murder victim who delivered a child after getting shot last week. Police want to question Collins. The LSU product isn’t considered a suspect at this time. He reportedly has hired a lawyer and a private investigator to prove an alibi and is willing to submit a paternity test.

On the eve of the NFL draft, Collins left Chicago to fly back to Baton Rouge in an attempt to exonerate himself. He won’t meet with police until after the draft, however, and his agent worked furiously to remove him from the draft pool today in hopes the NFL Player’s Association will allow him to participate in this summer’s supplemental draft instead.

If the request gets declined — Collins was a senior and therefore automatically eligible for the draft, but not yet a member of the NFLPA — he could tumble to Day 2 or even Day 3 of the draft.

Teammate Jalen Collins, once projected as a first-round pick by mainstream draft media, endured a recent report that he failed multiple drug tests in college. He also is recovering from foot surgery and started just 10 college games. Despite his combination of size and athleticism (and the fact that he attended LSU as a defensive back), don’t be surprised if the cornerback Collins remain on the board through the night.

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray is the final player hit with negative off-field news in the days leading up to the draft. Pulled over for speeding early Monday morning, officers eventually cited Ray for possession of marijuana as well.

Ray, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, is the most likely player to remain a first-round pick of those three. Both Collins players from LSU likely will get selected Friday in the second or third round, presuming the offensive tackle remains part of the draft pool.