Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
A particularly impressive showing at the scouting combine in Indy has generated considerable buzz for Southern Miss outside linebacker Jamie Collins. That buzz carried over into his pro day.
The league continues to be intrigued by Collins, who went to Indy and posted the best results out of all the linebackers in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle, vert and broad jump. After choosing to stand on those combine numbers at his pro day, he's left evaluators scrambling to adjust their grades.
One of Collins' traits that sticks out is his explosive lower body, which is one of the more important qualities in a linebacker. His vert and broad jump helped support the explosiveness seen from the linebacker on the field.
The former Golden Eagle has experience playing with his hand in the ground at defensive end, but he was most effective when standing up. He's been pegged as a 3-4 strong-side linebacker, where he would have more coverage duties than the primary rusher on the weak side.
Collins possesses a very quick first step, takes good angles and wraps up well. He should be more of a tackles-for-loss player than sack specialist in the NFL.
Bleeding Green Nation offered a quality assessment of the good and bad with Collins after a film review.
He's better attacking downhill than he is in space, where his hips were stiffer than I anticipated. Uses natural length to his advantage in multiple ways: Is able to corral and wrap up ball carriers in the backfield, also shows propensity for jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupting their routes immediately.
I see/understand the potential, and it flashes on tape, but I would have liked to see more. In addition to questions I have about key-reading discipline and a tendency to overpursue, I felt that with his physical gifts, Collins should have been an unstoppable force. That was not the case, at least not enough.
Not to pile on, but he also has a tendency to wear down in the run game too much and gets killed by double teams. Without any real refined pass-rush moves, the combine warrior won't be a major sack artist in the NFL, which is why he's best-suited for the strong side where he'll be matched up with tight ends and running backs more often.
He should be solid in coverage, if he isn't given too much too soon.
When talking about outside linebackers on the rise, Collins should be one of the names to come up. The third round is probably the most likely spot for him to come off the board. The Texans should be in that market and could consider Collins.