Jalen Collins is one of the more intriguing prospects in this years draft. He has great size and very few people contest the fact that he has considerable upside, but where his game and development is right now has a few people up in arms. Before getting into his strengths and weaknesses, lets take a look at his measurable statistics–thanks to the great folks at mockdraftable.com:
Strengths: The thing thats stands out when you turn on Collins’ tape is his size. He has great size for a corner and he is long. Since the Seattle Seahawks asserted their dominance, large, physical corners have become a hot commodity, which is very good news for Collins. Another thing that NFL defenses try to do is play man to man coverage. With NFL offenses becoming more and more pass happy, teams are putting more receiving options on the field at once, making things difficult for defenders. By having corners who can play man coverage, teams can really maximize all eleven players on the field. Collins is very comfortable playing man coverage and playing in the SEC, he played against some very talented receivers, such as Alabama’s Amari Cooper. While he didn’t set the world on fire against Cooper, Collins definitely showed flashes of his potential.
Collins showed that he and his coaches has the confidence to put him in man to man coverage against the best receiver in the country. Collins is very good at keeping the play in front of him and he does not give up big plays very often. Collins showed he has a willingness to tackle and when his teammates held up the ball carrier, Collins showed that he had the awareness to try to strip the ball from the ball carrier. While it isn’t one of the strongest aspects of his game, Collins does have the ability to be physical at the line, but most of the time, he covered receivers with his speed and technique.
While all of those are good qualities to have, the aspect of Collins’ game that has scouts salivating is his potential. With good coaching, Collins has the tools to become a very good cornerback in the NFL. He has the size and raw talent and some refinement, the sky could be the limit for Jalen Collins in the NFL.
Weaknesses: Just as every prospect does, Collins has flaws to his game. The part of his game that left me scratching my head was his lack of physicality at the line because he showed, on very few occasions, that he has the ability to be disruptive at the line. On many occasions, Collins would line up on the line and let his man get a clean release of the line, putting Collins in a turn and chase situation. Also, his lack of physicality left him very susceptible to slants. Watch this play against Amari Cooper, as a cornerback, you can’t give someone with Cooper’s skill set to have this clean of a release because…well you’ll see what Cooper does:
Nov 15, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Jalen Collins (32) reacts before kickoff Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Cooper makes Collins and the LSU defense pay dearly for their mistakes and so will receivers at the NFL level. Collins is also fairly stiff, making lack of physicality more confusing because instead of jamming his receivers, slowing them down and keeping the play in front of him for a bit longer, he allows receivers to have a clean release, putting him in a bad position where he has to turn and run, which is not an ideal position for someone with his skill set. That’s where good coaching will come in to play because most of these mistakes can be corrected, but he will need to break old habits to really blossom at the next level.
Scheme Fits: Collins will fit best in a man to man scheme, a bit like the Seahawks. With that being said, a team shouldn’t expect Collins to come in and be their top option o the outside from day one because that is a recipe for disaster. If Collins can go to a team with a distinguished number one corner, who he can learn from, he will have a better chance of being successful in the NFL.
Team Fits: Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots
Draft Projection: Contrary to most draft analysts, I view Collins as second round prospect. I think he is raw and that he has a considerable amount of flaws, but his potential might cause a team to reach for him in round one.