Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
The Miami Dolphins are a franchise that is stuck dwelling below .500. In fact, since their worst to first turn around in 2008 the Miami Dolphins have a combined record of 43-53 never amassing more than 8 wins in a season. The 2014 season started off looking like the year the Dolphins would break the streak starting off 6-4, before finishing the season 2-4 and for the second straight year at 8-8.
The Dolphins front office is all too aware of this trend in mediocrity, becoming one of the major players this offseason highlighted by the gargantuan deal signed by Ndamukong Suh, and the trade of Mike Wallace. However this is still a team with plenty of holes. Offensive line is set with Branden Albert and 2014 1st round pick Ja'Wuan James but there is a major gap at guard. Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry are great supplemental players but the Dolphins lack a true No. 1 threat. Defensively, Suh, Cameron Wake, and Brent Grimes are all perennially pro-bowlers with all-pro potential; however, both Wake and Grimes are on the wrong side of 30, and the rest of the roster leaves a lot to be desired.
This was a really tough pick for me to make, because of all the areas of need on this team. I was really hoping DeVante Parker would fall to make this decision a no brainer, but with him gone to me this came down to examining need, depth in the draft, and character concerns. I spent a lot of time debating taking Randy Gregory here, and I think he will be a steal if he manages to keep his act together, but I don't have that faith. To me someone lacking enough common sense to test positive for marijuana at the combine when he is a potential top 5 pick is a major red flag, and forced me to take him off my board. I had the same struggle with Marcus Peters whom many think is the best CB in this draft but I worry about his past at Washington, and I don't think there is a strong enough leadership in Miami to keep his personality in check. My last debate was with Jaelen Strong, whom I think is a stud WR, but I this is a deep WR class and the drop off in the 2nd round is drastic for corners I feel like Breshad Perriman, Nelson Agholor, and Devin Smith have the potential to be great NFL players and should be in play in the second round.
Jalen Collins is a polarizing prospect, he has all the physical tools to be a top flight corner in the NFL, listed at 6'1" and 4.48 40-yard-dash he fits the big bodied corner NFL execs dream for. The downside with Collins is that in three years he has only started in 10 games for LSU and is still a very raw prospect, and will make bad technical mistakes or gives up the inside lane easily to agile receivers, but shows a good ability to bounce back and shows a strong fight to learn from his mistakes. One of the things I love about Collins is his physical instincts as a tackler, who isn't afraid to come up and make a hit, watch his highlight against Wisconsin and you see several times him making solid one up tackles, or getting in a a blockers path forcing the RB to change direction and get swallowed up by the rest of the defense. Make sure to check out the 4:05 mark where you see him show off his elite speed chasing down Melvin Gordon from behind.
Jalen Collins ranked 5th in the country in completion percentage against at 40.9%, according to PFF, where Marcus Peters and Trae Waynes both allowed over 50%., and shows good instincts playing the ball in the air, although he does drop a few easy interceptions (See against Ole Miss above). He led the Tigers is pass defended both his freshman and junior year.
Jalen Collins admittedly is a project pick who might struggle as a starter in his first year or two in the pros. I am not drafting him to come and be the reason Miami makes the playoffs next year, but he has a rare physical skill set to match up with most NFL receivers, and shows a great instinctive awareness in how to play the game. A lot of people criticize Collins for getting benched and losing his starting role in 2013, he managed to fight back in spring and summer and reemerge as LSU's top corner, and I like guys who have been through adversity in their careers and shown they have the fight to come out on top. Collins is a pick who may struggle early in his career as he hones his craft, but I see the caliber of player on and off the field who is capable of becoming an elite defender, and in a few years' time I would not be surprised if he is regarded as the best defensive back in this draft.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (slickpablovick) - Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - [Explanation]
2) Tennessee Titans (mchiodo) - Leonard Williams, DE, USC - [Explanation]
3) Jacksonville Jaguars ("Snax") - Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, UF - [Explanation]
4) Oakland Raiders (kylebruneault) - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - [Explanation]
5) Washington Redskins (BigTimeTMZ) - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - [Explanation]
6) New York Jets (4thand26) - Kevin White, WR, WVU - [Explanation]
7) Chicago Bears (rohan915) - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson - [Explanation]
8) Atlanta Falcons (GMinTraining) - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington - [Explanation]
9) New York Giants (Grandpapa Joe) - Landon Collins, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
10) St. Louis Rams (deg0ey) - Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa - [Explanation]
11) Minnesota Vikings (ablesser88) - Trae Waynes, CB, MSU - [Explanation]
12) Cleveland Browns (djcunningham) - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville - [Explanation]
13) New Orleans Saints (del.champion) - Shane Ray, DE, Mizzou - [Explanation]
14) Miami Dolphins (drc242) - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU - [Explanation]
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