The big mystery of the post-draft period of the offseason is how exactly Jamie Collins will be used in the defense.
Belichick acknowledged he'd start at linebacker, but how he'll fit in with Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont'a Hightower remains to be seen.
The Patriots are desperate for linebackers who can cover. Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes that Collins' former coaches think he could be the answer to the Pats' problems covering the middle of the field.
I think that when he gets to the NFL, he’ll be able to match up with the tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. Heck, he spent a lot of time matched up on wide receivers when he was here at Southern Miss.
Now it's Greg Cosell of NFLFilms' turn to weigh in after studying Collins. Said Cosell to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe:
“He looks like Tarzan – 6-3 and a half, 250 pounds, and looks the part about as well as you can look,” Cosell said. “But he needs a lot of coaching. He didn’t always play with competitive urgency.”
Collins had 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss as a senior at Southern Miss, but “he needs to be trained. He’s not a natural pass rusher, and he needs to learn how to use his hands,” Cosell said.
Collins' primary initial role on defense, be it attacking the quarterback with his explosive athleticism or playing in space and coverage, will be an area to keep an eye on.