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Redskins Draft Countdown: Alabama S Landon Collins

Mar 19, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT

Landon-Collins-field

The NFL Draft is six weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.

Landon Collins
Safety
Alabama

source:

Height: 6-0
Weight: 228
40 time: 4.53 sec.

What they’re saying:

Strengths: Well-built athlete with light feet and fluid hips to change direction quickly. Forceful and reliable open-field tackler who often rips at the ball aggressively as he’s taking opponents to the ground. Better working downhill when he can attack the action, but has shown improvement in pass coverage, learning from past mistakes and improving his awareness in the deep half of the field.

Weaknesses: Trusts his eyes and can be deceived with good play-action or by savvy quarterbacks who will look one way and fire the other. Much more effective coming downhill in run support or protecting the middle on crossing routes than with his back turned to the quarterback. Possesses good but not elite speed and doesn’t show the burst to recover when beaten initially.

Dane Brugler and Rob Rang, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: Earlier this week I wrote about West Virginia WR Kevin White and said that he could be the big, fast, physical receiver the Redskins haven’t had in, well, forever. Landon Collins could be the smart, physical, aggressive strong safety the Redskins haven’t had in a long time, except for brief stretches when LaRon Landry was healthy. He has the potential to be a very good one.

This is a team that has been unable and/or unwilling to find a permanent, quality solution at either free or strong safety. Certainly the untimely death Sean Taylor was something that couldn’t be anticipated. But seven offseasons have passed since then and the Redskins haven’t come close to replacing Taylor and haven’t found a solid strong safety either.

This is not to say that Collins will be as good a strong safety as Taylor was a free safety. But he could be very good and, barring misfortune, he could be around for a very long time.

Potential issues: He’s a question mark in coverage and he has some technique issues to clean up (as does virtually every player coming out of college). And although he’s not small by any means, Scot McCloughan likely would want a bigger strong safety manning the middle of the field for the better part of the next decade.

But the big issue with Collins is if the Redskins can will the trigger on drafting him.

Under the philosophy of drafting the best available player, which is what Scot McCloughan espouses, it doesn’t look like they will be in a position to take him. Although Collins is a quality prospect, there are other quality prospects at positions of higher value that are likely to be graded higher than Collins.

Suppose the Redskins trade back? They might be able to justify taking him somewhere in the 10-15 range. But he might not make it out of the back end of the top 10, given the shortage of quality safeties both in the draft and currently in the league.

Bottom line: A reach at five and gone at a realistic trade back landing spot. That is the tweener status that is likely to have Collins lining up for a team other than the Redskins this fall.

It should be noted that you never know what will happen in a draft that is six weeks away. Certainly it’s worth monitoring, as it remains unlikely.

In his own words:

Collins on Taylor, who Collins starting watching when Taylor was still in high school.

“I idolized Sean Taylor for his physical play, his passion for the game, you could see it every time he touched the field . . . and I like being physical in the box . . . I’ve watched YouTubes on him, I’ve watched everything — hour-long videos on him, I watched a 30 for 30.”

Previously in Draft Countdown:

  1. bangkokben - Mar 19, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    There is the NFL’s Football Life but is there a 30 for 30?

  2. yosephthebroseph - Mar 19, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    Hi Rich,

    While I’m not comparing Collins to Taylor at all. I am curious as to what the scouting reports were like on Sean Taylor out of college? Did all the great analysts have good things to say about him? Was it clear he was going to be a great in the NFL? I’m just curious because I was only 12 when he was drafted so I didn’t read up on football and scouting reports at the collegiate level back then. This is my first time posting a comment on your page, would really appreciate a response!

    Thanks!

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 19, 2015 at 5:38 PM

      There was a very real debate at Redskins Park over whether they should take Taylor or TE Kellen Winslow Jr. so he wasn’t the clear cut pick. I think it was pretty unanimous that he had a lot of potential but there were “character” concerns (translation: some thought he was a thug and a punk). I’d say overall the pick was viewed favorably but it wasn’t a slam dunk home run (to mix metaphors there).

  3. ET - Mar 19, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    I think I represent the Skins fan orthodoxy: like him, but not at the #5 pick.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 19, 2015 at 6:27 PM

      Yes, but I’d add not at 10, either.

      Would rather see someone like Ereck Flowers in that range. Collins is a 15-25th round pick, imho.
      ~

      • ET - Mar 20, 2015 at 12:53 PM

        Inclined to agree. He seems about 15-to-25 worthy. Guess it really depends what the trade back might be and who’s on the board. There seem to be some good mid-1st options for the Skins at many positions, including S, CB, WR, DL, RT, LB.

    • cmehustle - Mar 20, 2015 at 11:13 AM

      I dont see any way possible he goes that high. Im not sure what people see in him but as far as I know safeties, even the really good ones dont USUALLY go that high in the first round. If he somehow slips to us in round two Im in. But no way he goes in the top ten. Safeties just arent that much of a priority in the NFL, sort of like guards.

  4. deepball1 - Mar 19, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    even the thought of possibly taking Collins is absolutely laughable. Whether at # 5 or if the Skins were to trade back to #12 or wherever. The Reason? Because the Skins keep stocking up on STRONG SAFETIES. There are already 3 STRONG SAFETIES on this squad and Collins may or may not be better than one of them because he has no experience in the NFL and they do.

    however…at the position of SPEED PASS RUSHER….the Skins have zero currently on the roster. I would be the family dog on Scott M. taking either Shane Ray or Randy Gregory with pick 5.

  5. kenlinkins - Mar 19, 2015 at 6:11 PM

    I am going to disagree with some and say that L. Collins will be the best “every down” player on the board at pick number 5. I think both QB’s will be gone and “Pass rushers / OLB” and NT’s / DE’s do not play every play. If you add that, someone like Collin should be able to play 35% more snaps than anyone on the board when you pick, maybe he is not such a reach.

    • shermanp79 - Mar 19, 2015 at 7:29 PM

      Good players at those positions absolutely play all 3 downs. When does Kerrigan come off the field. Is he a pass rusher? I believe so?? We have Duke and Johnson who can play SS. I may even try Johnson at FS, he filled in at both positions in SEA.

      • kenlinkins - Mar 21, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        Kerrigan is a weak side OLB, not at strong side pass rusher. Non of the OLB’s listed to go early in the draft are true OLB’s, they are pass rushers and none will play 98% of the snaps on defense while Collins will. I am not against taking one of them, just do not make them out to be Kerrigan types, they are not.

  6. mitch2538 - Mar 19, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    From everything I’ve read about Collins, he’s projected to go anywhere from 16 to 18 in the draft. So that being said, why would we waste a 5th rd pick on a safety who can only play in the tackle box! He would definitely have my attention if he was a deep free safety.

    Finally, I feel we should let Jeron Johnson and Duke Ihenacho battle it out for the SS spot. As for FS, if there aren’t any valuable options in free agency and the draft, IMO we should consider Phillip Thomas. This may not be a popular choice, but Mike Mayock did say when he was drafted… “that he was one of the best free safety ball hogs, and he thought he could come in and start right away”. The key to him is staying healthy, and the jury is still out if he could effectively make the transition to FS… just saying.

    • bowlregard - Mar 20, 2015 at 5:28 AM

      That’s the way I’ve been thinking. McC has stockpiled DLmen I think because that is where you want a good rotation. In the backfield it doesn’t seem you rotate players quite so much. Still, like Shanahan said, you want depth and competition at every position. And for the team to be successful some spots are just going to have to have somebody emerge. At any rate, the brain trust may just have a different idea about a player or two who are already on the roster.

  7. captblood3000 - Mar 19, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    Laron Landry is a free agent. I assume there’s no interest in bringing him back? Or no interest on Landry’s part?

    • bowlregard - Mar 20, 2015 at 5:30 AM

      I think we’ve moved on from the flaws in his game and personality. Merryweather also.

    • cmehustle - Mar 20, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      Failed too many drugs tests B.

    • redskinscaio - Mar 20, 2015 at 2:57 PM

      I think Laron Landry is suspended for the first 10 games this season for PED violation.

  8. troylok - Mar 20, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    It would be nice to have a safety on the roster that can cover zone from sideline to sideline, someone with real speed. Too many times I have seen our safeties lagging behind defenders or getting to the other side of the field too late to make the catch. We need speed back there more than size.

    • troylok - Mar 20, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      Just to add to that, we should be thinking about safeties with good pass coverage skills. It is becoming a passing league. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a tendency by teams to pound the rock, so it is essential that a safety have very good coverage skills – to the point where maybe teams start using one player they call a safety and then three corners.

      • boysheadcoach - Mar 20, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        you know we play in the NFC East right? DAL line and whoever, Eagles, w/ Sproles, Murry and Mathews, Giants Coflin always runs first. It might be a passing league, but its a running division.

        • cmehustle - Mar 20, 2015 at 11:15 AM

          Umm, maybe you heard of a couple of QBs named Manning and Romo. They do play in our division. Really couldnt name a RB besides ours lol.

        • troylok - Mar 20, 2015 at 12:14 PM

          Redskins division rivals threw for 12,412 yards in 2014 while they ran for 5,949 yards. I think we can declare the NFC East a passing division.

        • redskinscaio - Mar 20, 2015 at 3:02 PM

          You can’t compare passing yards to rushing yards, the average catch gets more yardage than the average rush…it’s more balanced if you would compare the amount of runs to the amount of passes. But anyway, I believe if you want to win, you gotta be able to do both well, stop the run AND stop the pass, because the good teams will be able to do both… especially come playoff time. Look at New England, if you have a good secondary, they will run the ball down your throat, Blount had over 130 yards in a couple of games last playoffs, i think…and if you have a terrible defensive secondary then Brady will throw the ball 50 times….

        • cmehustle - Mar 20, 2015 at 3:16 PM

          Yea stop the run and the pass. That would be a good defense.

  9. redskinscaio - Mar 20, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Ideally, I would love to see the Skins trade with the Browns and draft Collins and an offensive linemen like Sherff. Sherff would play left guard next to Trent Williams, and move Lauvao to the right side…and Chester goes to the bench for depth….

  10. UKSkin - Mar 21, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    There is absolutely no point drafting a safety at 5 who has coverage question marks. The NFL is now a pass driven league (sadly…..I miss The Hogs!) so we cannot afford to draft a safety who had pass coverage issues in College. These issues will only be exacerbated in the pro’s. We can go for the high profile edge rushers or the incomplete safety (all of whom have serious question marks), or why not go for the solid building block picks we know will be top quality starters for years (Scherff or Shelton). Pot Roast is a great pick up but he signed for only 1 year so I still wonder if Shelton is still an option….I hope so. Scherff ticks every box. So what if he ends up at guard, he is going to be a great pro!

    • jonevans511 - Mar 21, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      It may be a pass driven league, but the Seahawks have made back to back SBs on the strength of their running game and defense. If you control the line of scrimmage and execute well on offense (whether passing focused or running focused), you will be in the mix in every game. I’ll agree with the fact that teams are much quicker to abandon the running game when the passing game is clicking, but if the Skins improve even a little bit against the pass and stay strong against the run I think we’ll improve immediately. Do we need better pass coverage? Absolutely, I think that goes without saying. But don’t undervalue a strong run defense and pass rush as they can do wonders for a leaky secondary…..

  11. mr.moneylover - Mar 23, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    I dont see redskins drafting him unless they move back

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