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- Position: Cornerback (CB)
- Class: Junior (redshirt)
- College: LSU
- Ht/Wt: 6'1", 203 pounds
Jalen Collins was an enjoyable set of games to watch. The cornerback has great length, at 6'1" with 32-inch arms. He's an all-around good athlete, with enough long speed to play boundary corner, good enough short area explosion, and fluid enough hips. Collins is very comfortable playing man coverage, using his length and physicality to disrupt routes, and rarely giving ground to receivers on the boundary. In zone coverage, he tracks a quarterback well, and moves with good routing to stay in a position to make a play. His press coverage had sound technique, attacking with the correct hand and jamming the receiver at the line without losing momentum.
Where Collins struggled was mainly with shorter, in-breaking routes like slants. Collins was slow to turn his hips and follow a receiver to the inside, and it often led to short completions that turned into longer receptions. He needs to get better at planting his feet and driving inward when he recognizes one of those plays. The other weakness with Collins is that he doesn't naturally seek out contact. He can fight through blockers in the running game, but he's rarely the player making a tackle, either against the run or when dealing with pass catchers. Too often, I'd see him lag outside the pile or behind the rest of the defense when someone was bursting forward on a big play. When he did find himself in a position to make a tackle, his success rate was about 50/50 between solid, wrap-up tackles and whiffing completely.
There's a lot to work with if you draft Collins. He has size and athleticism, and an aptitude for coverage on the outside of the field, which is plenty to ask for from a cornerback. He's still a work in progress in many respects, and if he keeps progressing, I could see a strong NFL starter down the line. His best fit right now is as a rotational backup and special teams player, but I see a bright future for Collins, and I'd take him in the late first or early second round.