Breakdown: Falcons Select Jalen Collins

Everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons’ second-round selection of cornerback Jalen Collins out of LSU from Scout's college and pro football experts.

Awaiting Image
Jalen Collins
LSU / 6'2 / 203 lbs
  • CB
  • [2] #10

Analysis

Amazing that Collins only has 10 starts under his belt in Baton Rouge yet is still considered a potential first round draft pick. Why? He’s a bigger cornerback (6-2/203) with length and speed. His other positive measurable (short shuttle, vertical and broad jumps) has not translated too well to the football… yet. Collins is still a work in progress. Not many have his size/length combination, as these guys are so difficult to find.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn is used to having some big long corners like he had in Seattle. That’s what he’s getting with his second round pick in Jalen Collins. Amazing that Collins only has 10 starts under his belt in Baton Rouge yet was considered a first round draft pick but he slipped to the second. He’s a bigger cornerback (6-2/203) with length and speed. His other positive measurable (short shuttle, vertical and broad jumps) has not translated too well to the football… yet. Collins is still a work in progress. Not many have his size/length combination, as these guys are so difficult to find.

Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:

It was “make or break” for Jalen Collins in 2014, as the once-prized recruit needed to prove to the staff that he was ready to take the next step and be a big contributor on defense rather than a complementary piece. Hands-down the best athlete in the LSU secondary, he failed to grab a starting job as a sophomore and while he excelled as a tackler on special teams (12 tackles in 2013), he had just 10 more stops on defense. As a freshman, he had delivered 30 hits with eight pass breakups.

In 2014, he did earn seven starting assignments at left cornerback, including the final three games of the regular season, posting a career-high 38 tackles, as he picked off one pass and deflected nine others. Still, he has just nine starts to show for 39 games at LSU that saw him post 90 tackles, along with three interceptions and 17 breakups.

Collins has good timed speed and the agility to sharply change direction. He keeps his feet on the move and uses his quickness to stay on the receiver’s hip and mirror his assignment throughout the route. Even though he does not stay in his backpedal too long, he has good balance coming out of transition.

His straight-line speed does not always translate on the field, as he does not show suddenness or burst to close coming up from the deep zone, though. He does a good job of shadowing the receiver in the short area and can trail on deep routes due to his functional acceleration, but appears to be a slot corner or potential free safety candidate at the next level.

Collins’ obvious lack of aggression as a tackler could be linked to his marginal strength. He appears to take a side often rather than facing up to his opponent, and while he has above average coverage skills he’d much rather make plays on the ball in the air than to take on blockers or ball carriers due to an obvious lack of power behind his hits.

While Collins does display natural instincts vs. the ball in flight, he is too much the type that will perform in just certain situations. He seems to be a quarter-count late diagnosing quick-hitting routes (slants, outs) when playing off the line, but then he does the right thing when it comes to transitioning eyes from the receiver to the quarterback when handling zone assignments.

Last season, Collins showed some value when he was turned loose on the corner blitz but would then frustrate the coaches in run support, as he was quick to recognize the ground action, but would often get caught peeking into the backfield without reacting to the action in front of him.

Collins has quick feet, but he appears to be a bit high-cut and you notice that he does not show suddenness when changing direction, despite impressive shuttle performance numbers at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. That lack of lateral range appears more when he has trouble staying with the smaller receivers. He will then turn around and show solid press coverage technique to stall the route’s progression and prevent a clean release when challenging bigger wideouts.

Collins still needs to improve his hand usage, as he does not always jab the receiver. He lacks an explosive burst out of his backpedal but does a good job with his feet to prevent from “opening the gate” too early. A quick-tossing quarterback takes advantage of Collins’ lack of explosiveness, thanks to recognizing that the Tiger does not really have that recovery burst when yielding a big cushion.

Collins’ pass defense skills should earn him playing time as a slot cornerback in sub packages, as he is a good ball hawk with a receiver’s mentality attacking the ball in flight. He has above-average leaping ability that he combines with arm length and good extension to time his leaps when attempting to get to the ball at the high point. With his long arms, he’s perfectly capable of catching the sphere over his head.

Still, Collins will never be confused for being an aggressive tackler; in fact, there are times where he shows either indifference or lack of courage to mix it up with lead blockers (especially in run support). He needs to do a better job with outside leverage, as he seems at times to be afraid to mix it up near the line of scrimmage.

That tackling hesitation makes him a possible liability playing safety, especially as an eighth defender working inside the box. He’s not a great wrap-up tackler by any means and will lunge or leave his feet too often when trying to make the hit. He does show good determination to reach around and try to strip the receiver from the ball, but he needs to flash that same aggression when asked to take on runners along the corners.

Jalen Collins Scouting Combine measurables


6-2/203 (4.48 forty)
32 1/8-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
36-inch vertical jump
10-foot-4 broad jump
6.77 3 cone drill
4.27 20 yard shuttle
11.32 60 yard shuttle


Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.



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