Nov 15, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Landon Collins (26) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Landon Collins, who was a standout performer for Alabama’s defense, is hands down the best safety in this year’s draft. To kick this scouting report off, let’s take a look at how Collins’ measures up, physically, against other safeties, via MockDraftable.com:
Landon Collins’ biggest strength is his strength. At first glance, your instincts tell you that Collins looks like a strong, physical player. When it comes to Collins…trust your instincts because that is exactly who Collins is. Collins was a very strong physical presence in the middle of a very good Alabama defense. Collins enjoys hitting offensive players and he hits hard.
While Collins is a safety by trade, he was able to step up in the formation, lining up in more of a linebacker roles from time to time. In this role, Collins was able to effect plays in the run or as a blitzer off the edge.
As I said multiple times a bit earlier, Collins is a very strong and he is definitely able to use it to his advantage. When Collins can line a receiver or running back up, he can absolutely drill them, jarring the ball free. In situations where he doesn’t take the best angle or his initial tackle doesn’t drop the opponent, Collins’ is able to bring the ball carrier down with one arm.
Collins wears his heart on his sleeve, running down players from sideline to sideline and he was a leader for Alabama on defense. He is a very aggressive safety as well. Collins is very decisive, in the sense that he reads and reacts, relying on his instincts, rather than sitting back and being hesitant.
For a team looking for a tone setter in their secondary, Landon Collins should be the guy that they target.
Nov 22, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Landon Collins (26) is hit by Western Carolina Catamounts place kicker Richard Sigmon (36) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Collins’ biggest weakness is his coverage skills. Collins isn’t the most fluid player in coverage and he seems to be a half step behind his man more often than not. When comparing his tape from 2013 to is tape from 2014, Collins seemed a bit slower and a bit less agile. Collins could benefit from thinning down a tad, in hopes to make him just a bit quicker and fluid as he transitions into the NFL.
While Collins is a physical player and a good tackler, his tackling technique leaves something to be desired. Collins gets caught taking bad angles to ball carriers a bit too much and he gets overly cocky from time to time and he doesn’t wrap up the ball carrier, allowing his opponent to stumble forward for a few more yards.
Take a look at this play against Ole Miss (there was an issue with the gif, so fast forward to 3:16 seconds to view the play). Collins could have dropped the receiver as soon as he caught the ball, preventing any further gain. Instead, Collins attempts to bring down the receiver by driving his shoulder into the receivers back and the receiver bounces off and stumbles forward for five more yards.
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Scheme Fits: Collins will fit best in a scheme that requires Collins to play mostly in zone coverage, rather than forcing him to play man coverage.
Draft Projection: Landon Collins is far and away the best safety prospect in this draft, meaning he is a lock for the first round because teams proved this offseason that they are desperate to acquire talent at the safety position. Collins will probably get drafted somewhere in the mid to late first round, and don’t be surprised if a team at the top of the 2nd round jumps back in to the first round to snag him.
Team Fits: Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts
Pro Comparison: Laron Landry