Summary: Collins was a reliable and steady cornerback for LSU over the last three years. He never became the star player that some thought he would be, but Collins is still a good NFL prospect and is the latest product out LSU's defensive back factory.
Collins was a 2012 Freshman All-SEC selection by the conference's coaches. He totaled 30 tackles and two interceptions that year. As a sophomore, Collins was a rotational player and had 22 tackles with two passes broken up. Collins recorded 38 tackles, nine passes broken up and an interception in 2014. He did well in his plays against Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates. Collins also played well versus Ole Miss with three passes broken up, plus an interception on a deflected pass against Texas A&M.
Collins has a rare combination of size and speed, but hasn't always played up to it. He flashed that speed when he tracked down Melvin Gordon from behind across the field on a long run in the 2014 season opener. Collins is good at running with receivers, but he needs to improve his ability to play the ball. He isn't natural at that and needs to get better at slapping passes away and picking passes off. His ability to play off-man coverage and flip his hips will need some work, too.
In speaking with sources from multiple teams, they say that Collins has a great skill set but he doesn't play up to it. If he did, he would be a top-10 pick like Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne. Collins is big and fast, but he doesn't play the ball well and has flaws in his technique. They feel that Collins has the skill set to be a good press-man corner and would be fitting with very successful teams/systems that are in vogue in the NFL with the Seahawks and Cardinals. A lot of how Collins pans out in the NFL will depend on him landing with good, stable coaching. A bad situation could end up failing Collins and not leading him to the career he's capable of having.
For the NFL, Collins has the physical skill set to be a No. 1 cornerback, but he needs development. There are only so many cornerbacks who have his combination of size and speed, thus he's likely to be a pick in the back half of the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Corey Webster. The former LSU and New York Giants corner Webster (6-0, 205) combines coverage ability with size, length and speed. Collins has a similar combination of skills. Webster was a second-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and became a consistent performer for New York. Collins could be a similar player in his NFL career.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia, Arizona, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England
There are a lot of teams looking to improve their cornerbacks, and the free agent market was consumed quickly, so Collins has a number of landing spots on Thursday night.
Minnesota is in the cornerback market for a partner for Xavier Rhodes. With the passing attacks in Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago, the Vikings are going to need a top=notch secondary. Plus, Mike Zimmer is always inclined to take a corner in the first round. The No. 11 pick is too high for Collins, but if the Vikings trade down, or up from their second-rounder, Collins could be a target.
The Saints signed some veteran help, but they could consider more cornerback help. Collins could be in play for their pick at No. 31 that was acquired from Seattle. San Francisco and Miami also could us a long-term starters at corner. Both teams have some age at the position. However, Collins would be too rich at at either organization's first-round pick.
Philadelphia signed some veterans, but the team could still consider cornerback help. Collins could be the nickel and eventually become a starter when the Eagles save money by cutting a veteran.
Arizona needs a cornerback to replace Antonio Cromartie, and Collins has the skill set that the Cardinals look for. He could form a nice duo with Patrick Peterson.
The Ravens need to improve their cornerback play and could definitely be a landing spot for Collins. The Colts could use a long-term starter to pair with Vontae Davis.
Green Bay lost some veteran corners in free agency, and the Packers like big cornerbacks who can run. Collins should be in play for Green Bay.
With the final picks of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Collins could fit the Patriots as they have to replace Darrelle Revis.