Nate Collins is a late blooming defensive tackle from the University of Virginia who played nose guard in Al Groh's 3-4 defensive alignment. Standing 6'2" 279 lbs, he is a bit undersized to be a nose tackle at the NFL level, but Collins has had experience at the 4-3 defensive end position and also rotated at the 3-4 end spot. Collins projects as a 4-3 inside defensive tackle where his lack of bulk and size won't be as big of an issue. He had a breakout season in 2009 earning first-team All-ACC honors finishing the season with 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
Collins has a good use of leverage on the inside, but as mentioned he lacks the bulk to consistently hold up to the double-teams he would face as a nose at the NFL level. He relies on his natural leverage ability to hold up against the run and has an ability to disengage quickly from single blockers. He is an aggressive pass rusher who attacks the gaps in the offensive line and good initial burst off of the snap. He lacks the height to be a consistent threat to block passing lanes, but he does posses a very nice swim move to collapse the pocket from the interior.
Nate Collins projects to be a late round pick or an undrafted free agent, but his versatility will intrigue NFL teams. It's expected the Jaguars will work Collins out as a 4-3 defensive tackle as they're thin at that position but he does offer the flexibility for the Jaguars to move to the 3-4 in the future if that is still in their plans. His pro day is scheduled for March 18th.
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