Alex Collins Declares for 2016 NFL Draft: Latest Comments and Reaction

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 10, 2016

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 31:  Alex Collins #3 of the Arkansas Razorbacks celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the UT Martin Skyhawks at Razorback Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Skyhawks 63-28.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Arkansas Razorbacks running back Alex Collins announced Sunday he'll forgo his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL draft.

The 21-year-old posted an open letterpart of which is below, discussing his decision to go pro on the Razorbacks' official website:   

Coach Bielema has been a guiding mentor in my life for several years and I want to personally thank him for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play at Arkansas. I also want to thank the coaching staff, academic staff, and my teammates for helping make my time at the University of Arkansas successful. Lastly, there is no way to truly express how thankful I am for the love and support Arkansas fans have given me during the past three years. Without a doubt there are no better college fans than Hogs fans. I hope I make you proud at the next level.

A big reason why Arkansas bounced back from a 2-4 start to finish 8-5 was Collins' brilliance, as he ran for 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller slots Collins at 76th on his big board. It therefore stands to reason Collins could be drafted anywhere from the late second round to early in the fourth round.

Listed at 5'11" and 215 pounds, Collins is a thickly built ball-carrier who gets north-south in a hurry. His numerous trips to paydirt while playing against top-flight SEC competition are a result of his decisive running style and competitive fire.

In addition to Collins' knack for keeping his shoulders square and embracing contact, he has impressive long speed and is more of a home run threat than many may realize. His consistency in the form of three straight 1,000-yard seasons also bodes well for Collins' future.

One area of Collins' game where he's never really thrived is as a pass-catcher. He had only 13 receptions for 95 yards this season, though Arkansas didn't often throw to its backs in the passing game.

What helps Collins tremendously in terms of draft stock is his experience in a pro-style offense. Digesting an NFL playbook won't be as difficult for him as it may well be for some of his rookie classmates.

Other high-profile backs such as Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott and Alabama's Derrick Henry figure to attract a lot of attention. Collins is a bit of a sleeper who could turn out to be a steal and net a team excellent backfield value in the middle rounds of the draft.