This draft profile is meant as a supplemental, in-depth follow-up to Mike Kaye's SAM article from two days ago.
Edit: Be warned, this isn't a draft profile where I just jump on the hype train and slobber all over a prospect because he's become the flavor of the week.
Certain beat writers have moaned about Chip Kelly and Billy Davis being coy with regard to the Eagles "base" defense. I don't know what's so hard to understand, honestly. It's a 4-3 Under, with the defensive line shifted and Predator playing the role of weak side pass rusher. On the strong side is the all-important SAM, a hybrid linebacker who can rush the passer and drop back into coverage from one snap to the next. Remember, Kelly wants to be ahead of the curve, and that curve is amorphous defenses with interchangeable front sevens. This Eagles defense, as currently constituted, doesn't have that true fit at the all-important SAM -- which just so happens to be the position it appears Jamie Collins was born to play. No doubt he could also line up as the Predator. A classic chess piece, for sure.
Even before the Combine, those aware of Collins knew he's a freak athlete whose workout performance would probably be mind-blowing. It was tough playing on such a terrible Southern Mississippi (0-12) team this season, but draft nerds out there didn't forget about him. Collins has experienced a groundswell of support on Twitter over the past few months, and I can understand the building infatuation from fans who are just now discovering him. Last year I previewed, DVR'd, then watched Houston (ranked 6th) vs. Southern Mississippi (ranked 24th) at the end of the season because I figured it'd be the last time a game between both those teams would be deemed so important. I also wanted to get a look at each team's QBs, Austin Davis (Southern Mississippi) and Case Keenum (Houston). Jamie Collins, whose physical measurements and unofficial 40 time caught my eye while looking over each team's roster, stuck out on the field -- a long, super athletic player with unique ability and valuable versatility.
At just under 6'3.5", weighing a solid 250 pounds and with 33 3/4" arms, Collins is an awe-inspiring physical specimen just from an "eye test" standpoint. Then came the performance that redefined what it means to be a workout warrior. In a word, some of what he did in Indianapolis was unprecedented. Literally. Take a look at his NFL Combine official player page.
40-yard dash: 4.64... 4th among LBs. Dude can scoot.
Broad jump: 11'7" (139")... Combine record for ANY position. Wow. Explosion: check times infinity.
Vertical jump: 41.5"... 2" better than the top WR and good for second overall behind RB Christine Michael (43"). Again, explosion: check times infinity.
Broad and vertical jump GIFs... love the reaction of the guy who had to follow him in the broad jump.
Bench press: 19. Only "non-impressive" number, but also remember that the longer the arms, the harder it is to bench press (or so they say). Those who know much more about the body, working out, sports exercise, etc., please feel free to expand upon this in the comments section.
3-cone: 7.10... 5th among LBs
20-yard shuttle: 4.32... 10th among LBs
60-yard shuttle: 11.55... second among LBs
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In college, Collins alternated between rushing the passer -- both standing up and from a three-point stance -- and dropping back to cover. He's better attacking downhill than he is in space, where his hips were stiffer than I anticipated. Uses natural length to his advantage in multiple ways: Is able to corral and wrap up ball carriers in the backfield, also shows propensity for jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupting their routes immediately. I've watched the cutups of Collins on draftbreakdown.com (Note: MORE PLEASE), and I can sum up my scouting report on him thusly: I see/understand the potential, and it flashes on tape, but I would have liked to see more. In addition to questions I have about key-reading discipline and a tendency to overpursue, I felt that with his physical gifts, Collins should have been an unstoppable force. That was not the case, at least not enough.
Had his moments and made plays in the backfield -- definitely need more tape because I do love his rare athleticism, explosion, short area quickness and see an ability to shed blocks. Size and style really does profile perfectly for the SAM in a 4-3 Under defense. The NFL.com Combine profile page that I linked mentions Collins' motor "running cold," but I actually found myself liking his motor in the games I watched. Even with Southern Mississippi getting clobbered, he was giving it his all and chasing plays, making tackles downfield. Maybe I'm being too hard on Collins, but I simply expected more "wow" plays, to give me a moment where my gut/brain screamed: GOTTA HAVE HIM. I like Collins as a prospect, and I want to love him, but I'm not totally there yet. I could see myself getting there, though, because there's so much to salivate over, and a crucial part of talent evaluation is projection. All I know is I could get on board with selecting Jamie Collins and would be intrigued -- though with reservations -- if he's who the Eagles decide to pick.
Caveat: If the Eagles select Dion Jordan at #4 overall, well, safe to say Jamie Collins likely won't be on their radar in the second or third round.