Nico Collins 2021 NFL Draft Profile
One of the more intriguing wide receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft is Michigan product, Nico Collins. Intrigue is probably the right word because we didn’t see a lot of Collins given that he opted out of the 2020 season. Teams will have to figure out what to do with the Michigan wide out. Here is your 2021 NFL Draft Profile on Nico Collins.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. Players can do what they want. If they wanted to opt out this year, they had the right to do so. Nico Collins? Sorry, not sorry, I needed to see that guy play this year. You are not J’Marr Chase. Not in the same galaxy.
That leads me to the Senior Bowl. I was flabbergasted when I saw Todd McShay rank Collins as a 2nd round prospect. I’ll link my two practice notes on Collins from the Senior Bowl.
I did not think Collins had a great showing at the Senior Bowl, but I’ve already documented that. Now let’s actually get into the nitty gritty and figure out what to do with Collins.
It’s easy to profile the type of player that Collins is. The Michigan product checks in at 6-foot-4, 215, with limited speed. Collins is a large body possession receiver with reliable hands. He plays big boy football with the ball in his hands.
Again, when watching Collins in college, it doesn’t take long to get to know the player he is. Can win with the ball in the air, is a huge body, and can shield defenders a lot of times. A lot of his wins come in the same form or fashion. Short comebacks falling forward for extra yardage or a back shoulder fade that Collins wins over a smaller defender.
Collins, 21, doesn’t have the sexiest pure production. As a freshman, he barely saw the field reeling in three receptions for 27 yards. As a sophomore and junior, Collins totaled roughly the same stat line. In each year he was hovering around 30 receptions for 600-700 yards. Not close to elite production.
Was quarterback play an issue? God yes. Shea Patterson made my eye balls bleed. Maybe Collins has better numbers with capable quarterback play. It has to be factored into the equation when measuring his pure numbers.
The weaknesses in Collins’ game are also easy to spot. Limited route runner, lacks speed, zero burst, and struggles to separate. His limited college production in the reception production is a direct correlation on his ability to create separation. There’s no setting up defenders on routes. Everything is sort of rounded. The quickness to get to his spot is a zero.
Even the routes Collins wins (which there isn’t many of them) a cornerback is all over him like glue. The fact of the matter is, separation has proven to be king. Cornerbacks at the NFL level are too good to rely on just winning those 50-50 balls. The knees tell the story. It takes Collins too long to get going and by that time, it’s way too late at the pro game.
What are you really getting here with Collins? Allen Lazard isn’t good enough to be taken on the second or third day of the NFL Draft. Neither is even a high end Hakeem Nicks. The juice probably isn’t worth the squeeze when it comes to Collins. At the end of the day, Collins isn’t an elite knee bender that fails to get open. That player doesn’t have much value.