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Falcons Jalen Collins Hopes To Rebound From Rookie Disappointment


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Falcons Jalen Collins hopes to rebound from rookie disappointment
Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer

Sift through the list of second-round picks from the 2015 NFL draft and you'll find that 21 of 32 selections started five or more games this past season.

Jalen Collins wasn't one of them.

The Atlanta Falcons cornerback, considered a first-round talent who dropped due to marijuana issues in college, managed just two starts in 16 games. He had virtually no impact on defense with 12 tackles, no interceptions, and no passes defensed. He didn't see the field on defense in the last four games against Carolina (twice), Jacksonville, and New Orleans. His biggest impact was on special teams, where he was third on the team with five special teams tackles.

Collins, the 43rd overall pick, played 282 defensive snaps. The only second-rounders who played fewer snaps on defense were Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory, who missed four games, and Patriots safety Jordan Richards, who played in 14 games. Both Gregory and Richards played 229 defensive snaps.

Collins realizes he was a disappointment.

"Of course you're frustrated," Collins said of his rookie campaign. "I felt I could have done better. I really didn't play to the best of my ability throughout the whole season. Definitely a little frustrated, but I know it's a process. I'm just going to grind this offseason."

Will the Falcons regret selecting Collins? We'll see. Some of the second-rounders selected after him who had pre-draft workouts with the Falcons included Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks, Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman, Chiefs center Mitch Morse, Ravens tight end Maxx Williams, Gregory, and Richards. Kendricks and Morse were named to the Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team.

As for the 6-foot-1-inch, 203-pound Collins, his length and overall ability were supposed to earn him a spot opposite Pro Bowl alternate Desmond Trufant at cornerback ahead of Robert Alford. The Falcons tried such an alignment with Alford pushed inside as the nickel corner, but the experiment didn't work.

Collins obviously didn't play the ball well and got beat athletically. If anything else, at least he ended the season realizing his shortcomings.

"My focus is getting stronger, faster," Collins said. "Definitely my lateral quickness and focusing on my technique."

We'll see if Collins makes enough strides this offseason to make the coaches gain confidence in him. The Falcons seem likely to target a cornerback in free agency or the draft regardless.

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"Will the Falcons regret selecting Collins? We'll see. Some of the second-rounders selected after him who had pre-draft workouts with the Falcons included Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks, Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman, Chiefs center Mitch Morse, Ravens tight end Maxx Williams, Gregory, and Richards. Kendricks and Morse were named to the Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team."

I'm not sure if the quoted paragraph makes me want to cry or makes me want to puke, or both.

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This is why I am less optimistic than most.

Pass rush was our biggest need heading into the 2015 season and remains so heading into the 2016 season. Even though TD and Quinn said we nailed Free Agency and the draft the pass rush has not improved.

We just spent so many picks on Tru and Alford in 2013. We used a 1st, 3rd and 6th to trade up for Tru, took Alford in the 2nd. took Southward in the 3rd the following year Jalen Collins picks was baffling.

Edited by insight
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I'm gonna give Quinn aand co a pass on this one.

I'm sure he didn't know the full extent of our needs yet and Collins is the kind of player he LOVES. I can't fault him for being a little over zealous.

That said. He's had a year now up close and personal with this team and will know what we need better. I expect him to make more educated decisions now.

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This is why I am less optimistic than most.

Pass rush was our biggest need heading into the 2015 season and remains so heading into the 2016 season. Even though TD and Quinn said we nailed Free Agency and the draft the pass rush has not improved.

We just spent so many picks on Tru and Alford in 2013. We used a 1st, 3rd and 6th to trade up for Tru, took Alford in the 2nd. took Southward in the 3rd the following year Jalen Collins picks was baffling.

Our defense improved overall and I don't think pass rush is as big a need as Center and Guards at this point.

Edited by MAD597
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The list of good 2nd rd picks we could have taken before Collins makes me sick. I don't think anyone here had a mock last year that included Collins. He was taken because of his size is ridiculous considering his lack of playing time at LSU. If Quinn wanted a CB for size alone, he should be scouting at basketball games. Collins has as much CB experience as a power forward.

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I hate playing the hindsight game, but dang I really wanted Perryman. And like Power I said, Morse alone would probably have given us 1 more win, maybe 2, maybe playoffs.

Tell me again why TD is still around? I get DQ probably had a say, but maybe a better GM would have talked some sense into him. Gotta be optimistic right? Maybe Collins turns into a all pro. dry.png

Edited by blackredfellow
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Thus one is on DQ. It was his guy. Another wtf pick maybe? Perhaps in the 2nd, it would be more wise to exercise caution considering the value proposition that early in the draft.

I guess we allowed his size to trump his lack of experience (10 games), & his weed issue. Did they see some tools on film in those few appearances?

I don't have answers but if he doesn't pan out it adds another layer of frustration to our drafting.

I remain pleased with this draft however and agree that he can't get any worse so that's a positive. A pass can be given since he is a project pick.

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I'm gonna give Quinn aand co a pass on this one.

I'm sure he didn't know the full extent of our needs yet and Collins is the kind of player he LOVES. I can't fault him for being a little over zealous.

That said. He's had a year now up close and personal with this team and will know what we need better. I expect him to make more educated decisions now.

This.

I expect that Quinn will have a better understanding of the team's needs, strengths, and weaknesses after a full season of coaching compared to just being hired a few months prior to the draft.

The Collins pick had me scratching my head as I didn't see it coming at all. I too wanted some of those listed names but all I can hope for now is that Collins will pan out and that this upcoming offseason is a great one.

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I don't understand why the year one expectations were so high with this guy. As soon as we picked him, I was anticipating a 1-2 year wait before he had the chance to become a major contributor.

The adjustment to the NFL is tougher on CBs than just about any other position, so it is not surprising at all that a guy that started 10 games in college struggled to make an impact.

Edited by JRob215
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I don't understand why the year one expectations were so high with this guy. As soon as we picked him, I was anticipating a 1-2 year wait before he had the chance to become a major contributor.

The adjustment to the NFL is tougher on CBs than just about any other position, so it is not surprising at all that a guy that started 10 games in college struggled to make an impact.

Nobody really had high expectations of him coming into the season (at least around here). Many posters knew he would be a multi-year developmental PROJECT.

That's the problem I have with Collins. He was a huge project entering the draft who was REALLY raw. I did not like the fact Quinn brought in such a project player at a position we didn't really need to address when Kendricks was still available. Just plain stupid.

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I to am disappointed by Collins but in all fairness I think we had 2 pretty good corners already and we probably judged Collins off of Tru and Alford,at the moment he isn't close.

All the hindsight stuff is here nor there for me as the same discussion could be had after every draft what if.

For me the jury is still out much like Alford the previous year if Collins can have a similar off season and improve I think he could well turn the corner.

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I didn't expect him to see the field much thus yr, so the fact that he played those few games, basically starting was a surprise to me.

He seemed to do OK at first. The defense looked better with Alford at NB vs Adams but then I guess the Tampa game exposed him. He displayed some terrible ball skills. He is a project, hopefully he comes around. He is a Falcon nonetheless.

I wanted Kendricks or Perryman with the pick but was telling my brother in law that we may take that big CB from LSU. Definitely wasn't a shock.

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Nobody really had high expectations of him coming into the season (at least around here). Many posters knew he would be a multi-year developmental PROJECT.

That's the problem I have with Collins. He was a huge project entering the draft who was REALLY raw. I did not like the fact Quinn brought in such a project player at a position we didn't really need to address when Kendricks was still available. Just plain stupid.

I liked Kendricks as well and he would have filled a position of need, but to say CB wasn't a need is incorrect. Alford had been a total disappointment before this season and we still don't have anyone beyond he and Trufant. I mean, watching Phillip Adams struggle all season was torturous for everyone. Collins fits the profile of a Dan Quinn corner to a T, and he is confident in his ability to develop players to fit his scheme.

Let's just wait and see what happens over the next couple of years instead of comparing him to all of the other rookies after one season. The draft is not for those wanting instant gratification.

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