Michigan’s Nico Collins is another talented 2021 receiver

June 28th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Nico Collins has second round potential

The 2021 draft promises to be another year dominated by talented receivers. Nico Collins has every opportunity to be a high pick.

The first thing that stands out is his natural ability. You can see why he was a highly touted, four-star talent. He’s actually from Alabama and was recruited heavily by the Crimson Tide. He took visits to Georgia and Florida State along with Alabama and Michigan. He claims he just fell in love with the idea of playing for Jim Harbaugh and opted, surprisingly, to head North.

Unfortunately the Harbaugh project hasn’t worked as well as hoped for the Wolverines and he’ll go into the 2020 season (if it happens) under pressure to be more competitive — especially against Ohio State. The offensive production in particular hasn’t reached the expected levels, quarterback play has been disjointed and poor and a number of highly touted recruits haven’t played to their potential.

Collins’ production has been decent but has been somewhat limited within an underwhelming offense. He had 729 yards last season with seven scores and in 2018 managed 632 yards and six touchdowns. If there’s a full season this year, that’s about the ballpark expectation unless there’s a major improvement at quarterback.

When you watch him on tape it’s very easy to think his better days may come in the NFL. He’s wonderfully sized at 6-4 and 222lbs and he does two things very well.

Firstly, his ball-tracking is superb. If you chuck a fade in his direction he’s adept at locating the ball then positioning his body to make the completion. It’s not an easy skill — and it’s something D.K. Metcalf, for all his upside, is yet to master. Collins knows when to box out a defender but he also contorts his body to make contested grabs too and it all stems from his ability to quickly locate, gain position and finish. He undercuts defenders running across the middle and fights to the ball too.

Secondly, he has superb body control. There’s very little wasted movement in his catching process. No choppy steps, no dancing at the start of the route. He has an opportunity to become quite a trusted receiver early in his career because he gets to where he needs to go and even if he’s covered, you can throw the ball imperfectly into an area where he can still make things happen.

Size, control, instincts — these are factors that play into the natural talent he has.

There is another side to his game though that will cause some concern. Speed.

Running a great forty isn’t everything. Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins and others are a good example of that. Yet you do need to have some ability to win quickly and suddenly — or have the rare special qualities that enable openings deeper in the route. There aren’t many who can do that at the highest level. As the league has become faster paced and more user friendly for passing — suddenness is key. And more often than not, a good forty is a strong indicator of an ability to get open.

That’s likely one of the reasons the Seahawks haven’t drafted receivers early without running at least a 4.4. They value speed and quickness even in their bigger receivers — as seen recently with Metcalf and previously with players like Kris Durham.

Collins isn’t quick. That’s not his game. You don’t see him exploding off the snap, snaking by a defender and providing that easy throw to the quarterback on a slant. He’s not going to drive to the post and get open. He’s not going to boss go-routes and give opponents a headache downfield. He’s not a YAC-threat. If you want a receiver who does those things you’re going to look at a player such as DeVonta Smith.

A lot of Collins’ catches are contested and at the end of the day, he’s 6-4 and 222lbs. He’s not Antonio Brown or Tyler Lockett.

He didn’t test at SPARQ so we don’t have any indicators on what his forty might be but if I had to guess, I think even a 4.5 might be optimistic. He’s the opposite of sudden. As he builds speed his acceleration is actually quite leggy and sluggish.

Collins is still talented though. As noted before, he has a natural ability that you can work with. He’s probably not going to be a Seahawks target because he’s unlikely to run a 4.4. However — for the teams who like to scheme receivers open, find ways to pick holes in a defensive system and manufacture opportunities for their players — he could be a major value addition in the second round. He could be a good pick for a team like New Orleans or the LA Rams and he has second round potential for GM’s and coaches who can work out a plan to make the most of his physical ability.

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82 Responses to “Michigan’s Nico Collins is another talented 2021 receiver”

  1. Volume12 says:

    This gam reminds me of the Frank Clark vs N’western game. Just flat-out dominant. Let’s see if he can add some weight. Keep your eye on #[6.

    Duke EDGE Chris Rumph II vs Miami (’19):

    • Volume12 says:

      * #96

      • Rob Staton says:

        There’s definitely something there. Will be interesting to see his testing numbers and measurements. He was only 6-2, 194lbs at Sparq and he looks light so testing will be big.

        I’ll say this though — bloody hell I wish college teams would stop stunting all the time. For the last two years you end up watching these pass rushers and most of their sacks are stunts. At least Rumph shows something off the edge.

        • Volume12 says:

          I agree. I think he’d have a lot more buzz if he was 250 or so. I also think there’s something there w/ Odigizuwa’s little brother at UCLA.

          I think they stunt guys all the time because of the lack of talent on the O-line. And your looping to try and confuse the O-lineman. But it has a negative effect on your run fits. So while these DC’s are getting a short term gain, in the long run it hurts these EDGE defenders.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think it’s just manufactured pressure and it gets home a lot. Alabama stunts more than anyone. Just seems to work in college but it’s a pain in the arse for scouting.

            • Volume12 says:

              That’s true too. Fair point.

              • Gohawks5151 says:

                I like this guy a lot. I mentioned last time that he is similar size weight speed to Clemons and Jacob Martin coming out. If his frame isn’t maxed out already he could really be something

  2. cha says:

    Thanks very much for the writeup Rob. Another nice piece when we’re all starving for fresh content.

    Your writeup makes me think of BMW. Not the fastest but has size and body control.

    Chris Matthews too I suppose, in the “big but not fast WR” category. They were usable players for the Hawks but didn’t require a high draft pick investment and left almost as quickly as they came.

    I think he could be a useful player for the Hawks and PC would like him. But as you said, he’ll likely get drafted by someone else before he’d get to the range where the Hawks could look past the 40 time. He’d probably have to last at least to the 4th round or so (aka the Bermuda Triangle of Hawks WR picks) for them to take a shot on him.

    • Volume12 says:

      He’s another one of these receivers that have a lot of talent but suffer from poor QB play. They had another good one, Tarik Black, transfer to Texas.

  3. Volume12 says:

    I saw a debate the other day about Michael Thomas (his name in this piece rang a bell) & ‘Nuk’ Hopkins being better than Julio Jones. Am I crazy for thinking Julio is better than both quite a margin?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think he is. But I really like the other two — and did in college too.

      • Volume12 says:

        As do I and did as well. But, it’s ok to admit those other two don’t seperare with consistency. And the other guy is one of the 5 or 10 most naturally gifted receivers to ever play the game.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Hopkins is the best of that trio but Julio is a close second.

      • Rob Staton says:


        I’d take Julio every day and twice on Sunday.

        He’s the complete package.

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          Totally get that and Julio is unplayable on his day and he has arguably done more with less but he’s had a few down seasons. I love Hopkins profile, so sudden, undeniable production and he high points just as good as Julio with maybe a smaller radius

      • BobbyK says:

        Hopkins is great at all, but I don’t think he’s nearly as good as Julio and then Thomas.

  4. cha says:

    Ian Rapoport
    For the #Patriots and Cam Newton, who have quietly worked on this recently, it’s a 1-year deal worth up to $7.5M, source said.

  5. Sea Mode says:

    Well, at least it’s something. No R3 pick for the Pats next year:

    Mike Garafolo

    The NFL has handed down penalties for the #Patriots folowing the investigation of the filming of the #Bengals’ sideline, as @MikeReiss noted: $1.1m fine, loss of third-round draft pick next year, team production crews can’t film games this upcoming season.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Even Schefty recognizing it lol…

      Adam Schefter

      This is very New England: Now if Cam Newton plays well in 2020, and leaves as a free agent, the Patriots could get back a compensatory 2022 third-round pick to help make up for 2021 third-round pick the NFL is taking away from New England for its videotape violation.

      • JJ says:

        Won’t they get a 3rd round comp for Brady this year?

      • cha says:

        Or worse, they could pull an Eagles w/Sam Bradford and get some desperate pigeon to give up a high draft pick in trade. It’s probably not likely but man, your starting QB goes down for the year in Week 3 and you’ve got all the other pieces for a deep playoff run. And there’s Cam with an extremely manageable contract available in trade…

  6. Volume12 says:

    CB Parrick Surtain, jr gets all the buzz at ‘Bama. Maybe I just haven’t seen it. When is his teammate, Josh Jobe, gonna start getting some? My goodness. IDK if that dude even knows how good he is honestly.

  7. John_s says:

    I’m excited to watch the UNC duo – Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome. They remind me of OBJ and Landry.

    As an aside, Doug Farrah wrote a piece listing top 10 man corners. Seattle has two on the list – Dunbar (ranked 7th) and…….. Tre Flowers (#4). Maybe we see more man coverage instead of Cover 3 or Tampa 2

    • Volume12 says:

      Dyami Brown is a game breaker. ‘Bama, Ohio St., Michigan all wanted him.

      That’s a fun offense. QB Sam Howell has a chance to be a top 10 pick in ’22, they have 2 1,000 yd rushers, and as you mentioned, Newsome is also very, very good.

    • McZ says:

      My favorite duo is Wake Forrest’s Sage Surrat and Kendall Hinton.
      But UNC as a program definitely trending up.

    • Gohawks5151 says:

      High praise. Brown looks like a stud. UNC killing it in the past few years on the recruiting trail. I’m curious, what do people think about Amon Ra St Brown from USC?

  8. Rob Staton says:

    Michael Lombardi thinks Antonio Brown to Tampa Bay is a distinct possibility: https://twitter.com/PatMcAfeeShow/status/1277945202632777731

    • Logan Lynch says:

      Good place for him. Not that he can’t change his mind, but didn’t Arians come out and say they wouldn’t sign him already? Then again, Tom Terrific clearly wears the pants there now.

      • TomLPDX says:

        Yeah, BA did say something to the effect that it would never happen…but you have to take anything said by anyone in the NFL as BS.

    • cha says:

      I think Arians and Brown had 2 seasons together in Pittsburgh. Don’t know if that’s the case for Tampa signing Brown or not signing Brown.

  9. Logan Lynch says:

    Wow, what an update. Glad she just got off the phone with him.

    • Rob Staton says:

      She’s back!

      The phone’s back!

      The completely pointless ‘update’ is back!

      We’re on the road back to normality.

    • Sea Mode says:


    • TomLPDX says:

      Is Josina affiliated with anyone at this point or is she just doing this out of boredom? Poor JD, I think the season might have just past him by since I really have my doubts at this point that there will be football (as we know it) this year.

    • Volume12 says:

      This has to be a bit. Right?

    • charlietheunicorn says:

      I confess…..

      I thought of you all when I heard this news on the radio today, while drving around for work. It brought a smile to my face, since I knew what Rob’s response (and blog) would be immediately. 🙂

      • Rob Staton says:

        I was delighted to see Josina’s tweet.

        • cha says:

          I personally enjoyed the follow up tweet referencing the call again. Again, spouting no new information.

          So we got an update to the update that there is still no news.

          Except that she talked to Clowney. And tweeted about it. Twice.

          • Rob Staton says:

            Classic Josina.

            The most important thing for Josina is to let you know she’s talked to someone important. On her phone.

            • cha says:

              Slowly inching towards her zenith, where she tweets “Just got off the phone with Clowney” and nothing more.

  10. Sea Mode says:

    Okay, we know Clowney is motivated to play in 2020. We also know he’s out to prove the league wrong regarding his work ethic post-new deal. What we don’t know is where Clowney wants to play.

    When asked that very question, Pauline said, “I was told the two teams on top of Clowney’s list, as far as where he would like to end up, are the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.”

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean either team is considering the three-time Pro Bowler at this time. But as Pauline put it after that, both clubs would need to maneuver cap space if, in fact, those teams were interested.


    • TomLPDX says:

      Those 2 teams have their own cap problems and a 1-year prove-it deal will be a full hit on their bottom line. I definitely don’t think the Seahawks as players for JD anymore in this scenario.

  11. Happy Hawk says:

    Thanks again Rob for some more valued content. Since it appears the Hawks may have to address their edge issues in the next draft. Looked at Pitt’s Patrick Jones II.

    Good combo of inside power rush and outside edge motor.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Watched him a couple of weeks ago. Has some burst. Doesn’t quite have that dynamic ‘wow’ get-off though. Not the best bend-and-straighten either, he’s more slippery to round the edge and just kind of dodges the block from a more up-right position. He tested very poorly at SPARQ which raises concerns about his athletic profile — he ran a 5.04 forty at 225lbs.

  12. Hoggs41 says:

    Read an article on 710 today about Irvin. Who wants him to be a full time DE and who wants him to be a hybrid DE/LB?

    • cha says:

      If it’s the same article I read, I was surprised they didn’t bring up that Irvin has said he’s been told he’ll play SAM on 1st and 2nd down and DE on rush downs.


      • Hoggs41 says:

        I remember reading that article but I wonder if things could change? If Brooks could win the WILL job and move KJ to the SAM maybe Irvin could become a full time DE? What would be better for us?




        • charlietheunicorn says:

          This is assuming they go with 4-3-4 base defense. But the team might opt for a 4-2-5 with only 2 LB and they could utilize Irvin as the DE in this case. They would have KJ and BW as the LB and play with who would be in the slot, depending on match-ups.

          The real question is how fast Brooks can pick-up the defense with a very limited offseason?

          710 cross talk also mentioned they thought KJ and Brooks might flip flop depending on passing or rushing situations… getting the youngster some reps and giving KJ a breather. Obviously, to develop the youngster, but also being ready for extended play in the playoffs, if necessary, by either guy (in case of injury).

          • cha says:

            Hard to see how they’d opt for more nickel when they’ve invested so darn much in their LBs and don’t have a rock solid nickel CB ready to play a huge role. Especially given how much they played base recently.

            • Hoggs41 says:

              This will be interesting to watch. If Brooks can grasp the defense, it would be a win. That would allow KJ to still stay and contribute and get Brooks valuable reps along with getting Irvin more reps at LEO. We then just need a nickel. I still think it will be Flowers coming in outside with Dunbar or Griffin moving inside.

              • charlietheunicorn says:

                Flowers and Griffin are outside with Dunbar inside. They could flip flop if they want to place Flowers vs a TE in the slot… or bring in a LB (Brooks perhaps) such as KJ playing in base 4-3 against TEs….. plenty of options.

  13. Gohawks5151 says:

    Watched some tape 2 guys this past week. First was Amon Ra St Brown. Interesting kid. Despite playing with Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns (also an interesting guy) he went over 1000 yards and 7 TDs. He could blow past that this year with Kedon Slovis (also a name to remember in the future) as full time QB. He kind of reminds me of Jerry Jeudy in that one skill doesn’t really stand out. Kind of good at everything. Route running, hands, YAC. In another good WR class could be a guy that drops to round 2.

    Also, D’Eriq King. I grew up a Miami guy so thought i’d take a look. Terrific athlete. Returned kicks and played a bit of receiver early on. Eventually settled in as a QB and seemingly still learning the position. Obviously a threat to run at QB. Arm good enough to get it deep. Seemed like a primarily 1 read guy as a Jr. Will be interesting to see how he does in a different offense. 36 passing TDs, 14 rushing. Same size as Russ. I normally would say that he wont go very high but with Lamar showing out and the Eagles taking Hurts in the 2nd anything could happen.

  14. RWIII says:

    John Clayton said something interesting things today about Clowney. First appartently Clowney was talking to Josina Anderson. Clowney said that he hoped to get something done before the season starts. Clayton also said that the Seahawks at one time did offer Clowney 16mil.

    Speaking of Clowney. Clowney did mentioned he would like to play for the Saints/Cowboys. But I don’t believe either team has the cap room. The Titans have also been mentioned. But here again do they have the cap room? Cleveland has the cap room. Clayton has mentioned that if Clowney did sign with the Browns, there is a good possibility that Cleveland would have to release Olivier Vernon. If the Browns did release Vernon, then Vernon could be a possibility for the Seahawks. But as we have seen many times. There is a team that could come out of nowhere to sign a player. Clowney has said that he would not want to play for a team going no where. But with that said. Would Clowney actually do a one year deal and sign with the Carolina Panthers? What is interesting is that Rock Hill S.C. is only 40 miles from Charlotte, N.C.

    • cha says:

      I didn’t hear the piece. So what did he say that was interesting? Sounds like regurgitating known information.

    • Jim Valvis says:

      There is no reason for Carolina, who wants to be in on the TL sweepstakes, to sign Clowney in a rebuilding year for one season.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I wouldn’t even bother signing Olivier Vernon. No point. He’s made his fortune and isn’t that good any more.

      • Logan Lynch says:

        Plus, they already have 4 options at LEO and I would rather see snaps go to the younger guys like Taylor and Robinson than Vernon. A good 5 tech and run stuffing DT are more intriguing.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think he’s talking about the way they’ve handled preparing for this season during covid-19… because nobody can look at the D-line and pat themselves on the back.

      • Big Mike says:

        Welllllllll………………you know as well as I do that Pete’s Mr. Positive and you know he’s not gonna say “well we had a shit offseason when it comes to getting the pass rush right”. I’m being a bit hyperbolic here and yeah I suspect you’re right about his focus but still………..

  15. Sea Mode says:

    Chris Jones

    Replying to @ArrowheadLive

    Or I won’t play. @LeVeonBell told me about this

    • cha says:

      “I sat out the season and lost out on about $15million.”

      “That sounds great! I wanna do that too!”

  16. Sea Mode says:

    Tom Pelissero

    The NFL just informed clubs it will not conduct a supplemental draft this year, per source.

  17. Sea Mode says:

    Field Yates

    Updated NFL preseason schedule:
    July 28: Nearly all NFL teams report to training camp
    23 day acclimation period begins
    Preseason Week 1: August 20th-24th
    Preseason Week 2: August 27th-31st

    September 10th: Chiefs vs. Texans. The games begin 🏈.

    • EP says:

      Putting aside the off the field side of AB for a moment. Imagine him Locket, Metcalf, Olsen/Dissly on the field at the same time, all while fearing a bruising run from Chris Carson. Open spaces everywhere… Russ deep ball…

    • Rob Staton says:

      This video getting out there, IMO, is Wilson making a point.

      I think he feels the same way about this off season a lot of us do.

      And he wants them to add the stars he requested.

      Article later.

      • Big Mike says:

        Yeah sure looks that way doesn’t it?

      • Sea Mode says:


      • Ashish says:

        I believe, like it or not that Seahawks will sign AB. AB will also get good opportunity to play with Russ and make amends to his career.

      • RWIII says:

        No question. Antonio Brown was a superstar in his day. But he barely played last year. Seattle is a run first offense. They already have Greg Olson, Tyler Lockette, D.K Metcalf. So will Brown be a good soldier if he only gets 4 or 5 targets a game. The Hawks also Dorsett, Ursua, Wil Disley. So how many targets would Brown get?

  18. charlietheunicorn says:

    Could anyone put the ideal measurements for a Seahawks 5 Tech and DE/Leo up for review?
    A refresher summary of testing Seattle has tended to favor at each position under the PC/JS regime… thanks much

    (I’ve heard it mentioned last season the Seahawks had too many 5 Techs and not enough DE/LEO on the roster. which is why I brought this up)

  19. Levi says:

    Aa far as intriguing WR prospects go, I highly recommend Reggie Roberson. He has great quickness off the line of scrimmage, he has the route running prowess and speed to get open deep, and he bullied Jeff Gladney a few times. Id watch at least his TCU game