Alabama S Landon Collins** 6', 228 lb.
Consensus five-star recruit - declared for Alabama on national TV (Mom wanted LSU!)
Louisiana 5A All-State selection
No. 1 safety in the country in 2012 graduating class
No. 3 prospect nationally by 247sports.com, No. 6 by ESPNU
First Team USA Today HS All-American
First Team All-American (2014) - unanimous selection
First Team All-SEC (2014) - unanimous selection
Second Team All-SEC (2013)
Finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (2014)
Finalist for the Nagurski Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy (2014)
Arms: 31 ½"
Hand: 9 ⅜"
40-yd dash: 4.53
10-yd split: 1.56
Vertical Jump: 35"
Broad Jump: 10'
Short shuttle: 4.33
I'm sure most of you know all about the game "Where's Waldo?" For the uninformed, it's the simplest concept in the world - an Ichibod Crane looking guy with specs and a Dr. Seuss red and white horizontally lined sweater is placed somewhere in a menagerie of chaos and animation. Then, you find him. Simple, right? Well, up until the point where you truly have to find him in this field of colors and objects. It can take a while to locate Waldo.
When Collins is on the field, it's sort of a game of "Where's Landon?". Watch a game. Heck, watch one quarter of one game and try to find him from play to play. He'll be a half field safety on one play. He'll roll up into the box on another. He'll rotate to the slot. He'll line up at "big nickel/dime" linebacker. He'll blitz the edge. He'll be the last line of defense.
Texans analyst and radio sideline reporter John Harris unveiled his top 100 prospects for the NFL Draft. (Photos courtesy of AP)
His versatility at the safety position and his understanding of Nick Saban/Kirby Smart's defense gave the Tide a chess piece they've rarely possessed over the past eight seasons. Regardless, the question pertaining to Collins is simple. Is he more than just a box safety? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but box safeties typically don't hear their names called on Thursday night of Draft weekend. Let's look at the whole package and then answer that question.
"With Collins there are some limitations in man-to-man but he has really good range in deep zone coverage. He supports the run hard and has very good ball skills. When you look at Combine numbers, it was pretty impressive what he was able to do...he almost has Will linebacker size!" - Todd McShay, ESPN
What to like
--Good hip turn on COD and baseball turn
--Ultra-quick play recognition
--Excellent tackling in space - perhaps one of the best tackling defenders
--v. Mississippi State, he was playing deep half on Tampa 2 coverage - the backside safety - he sees and reads QB eyes the whole way and as the LB loses leverage in coverage, Collins is there to at least make a tackle and prevent a huge play - this is really good
--High football IQ - see above bullet point
--Uncanny knack of where to be to ensure proper run fit.
--Even though man coverage needs some work, he does drive on the football when it's thrown, his pick v. MSU was in large part due to his break on the ball.
--has better "get-off-the-hash" range than I originally thought
What needs some work
--Doesn't get a ton of depth on his backpedal - which forces him to turn and run too soon.
--Wrap up - he tends to throw shoulders, elbows into tackles down the field
--Needs to be under control when tracking down ball carriers in the open field
--Watching him a few times, his right shoulder was an issue - not sure if it still is or will be.
--Knows his role/responsibility almost too well, doesn't always follow his instincts
--Man-to-man on slot WR, whoa...needs a lot of work - feet stop, he reaches, clutches and grabs - he finds a way to stay in coverage, but he'll get flagged for that a bunch as a rookie until he learns.
--His first thought is to contact receiver as opposed to matching a cut, running with him
--On the goal line, he gets caught looking into the backfield a bit much (nearly gave up TD to D. Williams, Auburn)
Rarely do you ever see Collins out of position. Rarely do you see him bust an assignment. Rarely do you ever see him not giving 100% effort. Crazy as it sounds, that means a ton to coaches at all levels. Just do those things and a guy can play for a decade. Collins gets himself into position due in large part to an incredibly high, functioning football IQ. Most players like that don't have the wherewithal to make splash plays, but Collins is always around the football. The "Where's Landon?" game is easy once the ball is snapped because #26 finds a way to sniff it out. Sure, his man-to-man cover skills on whippet quick inside slot WR need work and, unfortunately, there might be too many habits to break to ever become a lockdown cover guy inside. But, his range, as a middle third or deep half safety, is more than adequate. He drives on throws with excellent footwork.
In short, he's a complete safety or as complete as any team will find in this draft.
View photos of Landon Collins' football career at Alabama.