Every now and again you come across a player who just jumps off the screen. Jalen Collins is one of those players.
Is he the finished article? Absolutely not. Does he possess tremendous upside and potential plus every single athletic and physical trait you want in a #1 corner? Oh yes. The idea of this coaching staff getting the opportunity to work with Collins is tantalizing. If it’s going to take a special cornerback for Seattle to consider spending a first round pick, consider me convinced. Collins is the real deal.
When you watch the video above, don’t be disappointed when you see Notre Dame complete a couple of slants against Collins. Consider this instead. That’s two games against supposed high power offenses. How many big plays does he give up? How much yardage does he concede in those games? Then head over to Draft Breakdown and watch his performance against Alabama and Wisconsin. Play after play he’s right there — ultra tight coverage.
Physically he has the works — height (6-2), size (198lbs), long arms and general length. He has soft feet and great hips to drive on the ball and change direction with fluidity and snap. Recovery speed is vital for any corner and he has it — when he loses track on a route he’ll react and regain position. He has the leaping ability and arm length to play the ball in the air and the instinct working in zone to read the play and break on the defender. We’re talking about a naturally gifted corner with very few flaws.
The problem is — he only has ten starts. Ideally he stays in school for another year and builds on what we see above — but he received a very favorable grade from the draft committee (no surprise). Sometimes you can see the lack of experience show up on tape — there are technique issues working in press and he can be a bit more patient at times. Nobody should be concerned about that. The Seahawks have the best secondary coaches in the league led by the ultimate #1 defensive backs coach in Pete Carroll.
Collins is everything you look for in a corner — the height, the speed. He’s not a crazy run defender but he’s willing to get involved. Because of the emergence of the Legion of Boom and the lack of great depth at the position, it won’t be a total shock if Collins goes much earlier than people expect. If he’s there at #31 — I sincerely hope the Seahawks consider pulling the trigger presuming Byron Maxwell walks. Yes — the offense needs help. But the identity of the team is really down to Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the LOB. Pay the first two, replace Maxwell and that is maintained. Collins’ arrival would secure all four secondary spots for the next four years, delivering consistency to a key group.
He’s not the only player with exciting physical talent — Virginia’s Eli Harold would be a great addition to the defensive line and has the length, burst, speed-to-power conversion and grit the Seahawks like. I could see a home for Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon in Seattle depending on the situation with Lynch. But none of the receivers or offensive linemen appear to rival Collins and Howard for upside, potential, scheme fit, physical ideals and pure talent.
It’ll be fascinating to see how fast he runs at the combine. Richard Sherman ran a 4.56. I almost hope Collins manages a similar effort to keep his stock under control. I suspect he’ll break the 4.4’s. Any team looking for a prospect with comparable physical traits to Sherman will look at Collins. He’ll need some work but any self-respecting coach would back themselves to deliver with these tools at hand. Collins could be special.
What else is happening today…
Jason Cole — he of the ‘Pete Carroll and John Schneider don’t see eye to eye’ rumors of yesteryear — is suggesting Ndamukong Suh wants to play in Seattle. He also admits it’s a pipe dream. Suh is expected to earn a contract worth over $100m as one of the truly special defensive linemen currently in the game. With so many teams loaded with cap space (Raiders, Jaguars) he will have the opportunity to earn a monster salary. Big market teams like the Jets also have around $45m to play with. Seattle’s at $23m according to Spotrac — and that’s before any new contracts for Wilson, Lynch, Wagner, Sweezy, Maxwell, Carpenter, Irvin, Okung or whoever else you want to pay. Adding Suh would be an incredible move for an already elite defense. But you’d have to risk so much to get it done, if it’s even possible. The only chance could be if Suh was willing to take a one-year deal (why would he?) with the Seahawks back-loading Wilson’s contract. It’s a nice thought, but totally unlikely.
Today I was told by a pretty reliable source that the price for Suh will clear $100M. He's setting that bar. @davehydesports passes plate.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) February 6, 2015
Derek Stephens has written up a piece on Field Gulls listing his wide receiver rankings. He also includes a Seahawks-focused list of options for #31 with Jaelen Strong in the top spot. Stephens: “Strong’s unique ability to repeatedly make the circus play or the tough catch in traffic despite lacking cleanliness in his routes and fluidity in his movement, make him someone I could see the Seahawks taking a strong interest in.” My own personal take? Strong made ridiculous catches all year and shows fantastic hands, high pointing skills and control. The big issue is — he rarely creates separation forcing the need to make difficult grabs, he lacks explosion running over the middle and is he strong enough to get off press? It’ll be very interesting to see Strong’s bench press and forty time at the combine — they could make or break his chances of going in round one.
And finally — if I made a list of realistic options at #31 who really stand out (I will do soon) — Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown would be included: