Southern Mississippi linebacker Jamie Collins certainly turned a lot of heads this past week at the NFL combine and he most certainly could be a target of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first three rounds of the draft.
Collins, who measured in at 6034, 250 pounds, set a combine broad jump record while in Indianapolis with a leap of 11 feet, 7 inches. If that wasn\'t enough, he also posted a vertical jump of 41.5". Just so know, the combine record is 42.5. As far as the 40 yard dash, Collins had a more than respectable time of 4.64.
Was Collins the 2013 version of the combine workout warrior? Almost. He was only able to do 19 reps on the bench and that will be a number that he will look to improve come his pro day. I will be looking for this dedication specifically. If he can do 23 or more, he might sneak into the second round.
So what about Collins on the field? For starters, he played the bandit position in his final two years at Southern Mississippi. This allowed him to play on both sides and play from both a down and stand up position. His production ratio in his final two season was great as he recorded 16.5 sacks over the course of those two years to go along with 39.5 tackles for loss. That\'s a production of 2.15.
Collins\' 33 3/4 arms, the longest of all of the listed linebackers at the combine, are used well by him on the field as he is able to get them inside the chest of tackles and he easily discards blockers with them. He does, however, need to get stronger up top and in his hands, but this can easily be fixed at the next level. Collins is very athletic and possesses good balance, mobility and leverage.
As a pass rusher Collins does a good job at providing pressure and is usually mismatch for a running back or tight end that is asked to block him. He has a great bend and uses his speed to gain the corner.
Against the run Collins will get himself in trouble when he uses his shoulder instead of his hands to take on blockers. You will see him get washed out of the play when this happens. He uses his speed to his advantage when chasing down the line on the backside and he missed very few tackles in the cut-ups that I watched as he wraps up well with those long arms of his.
As far as his dropping ability goes, he is fluid with his motion out to the flat and he takes good angles. He had 13 total pass breakups in his final two seasons with some of those being at the line of scrimmage as he is good about getting his arms up.
Collins seems to play better on the left side and he needs to get more violent. His recognition also needs improvement at the next level as he succumbs to the outside-in crack back blocks at times. Like several others I have watched tape on, Collins needs to do a better job at protecting his legs against running backs that like to cut block. His motor is also inconsistent and I am sure teams asked him about that during the combine.
Collins is player that I firmly believe will be drafted somewhere in the third round. Can he sneak into the second round? I wouldn\'t rule it out with a few more teams switching to the 3-4 now.
Don\'t be surprised if he is one of the Steelers 30 pre draft visitors and I expect him to rack up a lot of air miles after his pro day.