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Is Arkansas RB Alex Collins what the Redskins want in a second back?

Apr 6, 2016, 12:42 PM EDT


Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 22 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

Alex Collins
Running back

Height: 5-10
Weight: 217
40-yard dash: 4.59

Projected draft round: 3-4


What they’re saying

Collins was an ideal fit for [Arkansas coach Bret] Bielema’s blueprint on offense with his light feet to make sharp cuts, but also his physical nature to welcome contact, finish forward and do most of his damage between the tackles. Collins is a physical runner, but needs to improve his pad level and ball security to be more reliable at the next level.

Although he won’t consistently create on his own, Collins has an excellent blend of quickness, patience and power to get what is blocked for him and contribute as an NFL rookie.

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: How much can they trust Matt Jones? He flashed some potential on plays here and there but he lacked consistency and his four fumbles all seemed to come at the worst times.

If they just want a Plan B in case Jones fizzles in 2016 they could wait and sign Pierre Thomas or another veteran still on the street. But if they want to go with running back by committee, with two backs carrying the load they should look to the middle rounds of the draft and perhaps to a back like Collins.

At Arkansas he was a model of consistency; he rarely failed to go to the right spot and get at least as much as the play is blocked for. Collins is not a burner and he’s not a big back but he’s a good combination of speed, size and football smarts.


Potential issues: Jones’ fumbles are an issue and they were an issue for Collins as well. He lost the handle on the ball 16 times during his career, usually due to not protecting the ball properly when fighting for extra yardage. No doubt, McCloughan and company will need to figure out if this is something that the coaches can remedy before they seriously look into him.

Bottom line: Should the Redskins spend a mid-round draft pick on a running back two drafts in a row? Whether they do or not will depend largely on if a running back is the best available payer on the board when they pick.

And I they do take a running back, should they take on with a skill set similar to Jones’? Or should they look towards a back with some demonstrated pass-catching ability (Collins caught just 27 passes in three years with the Razorback)?

If they want a guy who is more like Jones to compete with Jones, Collins should be under serious consideration.

In his own words

About the importance of patience:

I would say it’s definitely patience, that plays a huge factor in it because if you’re the type of runner that just always runs outside, then they’ll just come from the outside and force you up the field. Just being patient, letting things lead up to it, if that’s the road it takes you, then you go with it. If you’ve got cuts up the field, you take the cuts. But I would definitely say it’s just being patience, letting things play out. If that’s the best opportunity, take that opportunity. But as far as just aiming for the outside, it wouldn’t work every time because defenses wouldn’t let you keep doing that.

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 6, 2016 at 1:35 PM

    If they want a guy who is more like Jones to compete with Jones, Collins should be under serious consideration.

    We will find the ultimate Jones back!

    (Kidding aside, it’s all a matter of what pick we’re talking about, and who else is still on the board.)

  2. abanig - Apr 6, 2016 at 1:58 PM

    I would think so. We need someone that can do what Helu did for us for a few years. We have our big workhorse and our scat back/receiver we need a guy that can do both behind Jones.

    • troylok - Apr 6, 2016 at 2:57 PM

      They could probably get Helu for a song and a bag of chips right now for all that he did with the Raiders last year. I’d aim higher.

      • abanig - Apr 6, 2016 at 3:08 PM

        I said “like” Helu. Meaning they type of skill set or a Gio Bernard type skill set. A guy who’s 5’9-5’10, 195-210 pounds and is quicker than Jones that can block and catch passes. In otherwords a change of pace guy.

        • Lex - Apr 6, 2016 at 6:14 PM

          A Gio type back would be a nice compliment. I like collins or aaron green from TCU

        • ET - Apr 6, 2016 at 6:15 PM

          Does Collins fit that bill, though?

          To me, he seems like a less dynamic version of Jones—less violent, less pass-catching ability, equally fumble prone. I’d be less than ecstatic with this pick.

        • abanig - Apr 6, 2016 at 8:05 PM

          He’s smaller, quicker and has more wiggle than Jones. He does need work and development but that’s why he’d be a 3rd rounder in my eyes.

          In the mid rounds you aren’t going to get a finished product.

          Any RB they take in round 3 or later I’ll be realistic knowing he’ll need a few years to develop.

  3. hotpicksblog - Apr 6, 2016 at 2:21 PM

    The Redskins need speed. They don’t need another 3-5 yard guy for 14 play drives where one fumble or one mistake ends the drive. When are the Skins going to get someone who has the FEAR FACTOR and gives Defensive Coordinators nightmares. D. Jax is the only weapon the Redskins have right now which really scares Defensive Coordinator. Even Jordan Reed just keeps the chains moving. We need a fear factor back.

    • skinner4life - Apr 10, 2016 at 9:23 AM

      I think we should go for a runner in the 2nd round and a good corner in the first if there is one but Scott is good at picking late round talent

  4. troylok - Apr 6, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    I think Matt Jones 2.0 makes a heck of a lot of sense. There is no evidence that Jones can get it done for an entire season. They need someone who is physical like him who ca take away some carries and be there if, God forbid, Jones gets a long standing injury. McGloughin’s draft board probably includes a few running backs, so I would be immensely surprised if they don’t draft some running back capable of complementing Jones.

  5. John - Apr 6, 2016 at 3:48 PM

    Would have loved to have seen Reggie Bush in a Skins uniform this past season. He would have been a good change of pace back. His running style is the complete opposite of an Alf or Jones, but would have cost quite a bit.

    That being said, the kid from Notre same is looking better than the Razorback.

  6. Robert Herrera - Apr 6, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    I said before that taking a defensive lineman in 21 pick is necessary. The redskins defense ranked low in stopping the run. The skins can take a running back in the second pick. One running back I will mention is a sleeper pick; he is Kenyan drake. Why would I would pick him is he very physical and can take more than one guy to bring him down. That’s my opinion watching him in college and on YouTube videos. I hope others can see his you tube videos in college games.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 6, 2016 at 7:38 PM

      Rich mentioned “mid-round.”

      I think even a 2nd rounder would be high for Alex.

  7. kenlinkins - Apr 6, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    Rich: The Redskins drafted the following in 2015
    1st B Scherff OT/OG: Impact player
    2nd P Smith OLB : Flashed some talent
    3rd M Jones RB : Flashed some talent
    4th J. Crowed WR : Productive 4th round pick, Flashed some talent
    4th A Kouandjio OG : Unknown, did not play
    5th M Spaight ILB : Unknown, Injury on IR
    6th K Jarrett S : Flashed some talent, injury, might not return
    6th T Mitchel CB : Lost to Colts, Cuts, injury
    6th E Spencer WR: Cut, injury
    7th A Reiter C : Unknown, PS, Did not play
    Out of the ten players drafted, the Redskins got
    1 Impact player
    1 Productive player
    2 Flashed some talent and could take the next step and be a subpack / starter
    3 Unknown, did not play (one didn’t make it off PS, one didn’t make it on the field, one injury)
    1 Injury, may never return
    2 Cut
    Most Redskins fans are calling this draft the best in years but there seems to be a ton of question marks after the first 4 players. Is drafting like baseball? (hitting 400% makes you great), have Redskins fans over valued the 2015 draft, or do we have to wait on the 3 Unknowns before we can grade the 2015 draft class? I wonder what the NFL Avg is for production from a draft class in year one / two (i.e. how many snaps should a team get out of a good draft class)?

    • goback2rfk - Apr 6, 2016 at 11:47 PM

      The draft class was way over blown and looking at the numbers this was not a great draft for the Skins.
      And the FA pickups of 2015 were crap.

    • John - Apr 7, 2016 at 12:07 AM

      Normally, your 1st rounder should start by the middle of their rookie season, impact or not.

      2nd rounders should be contributors with an eye towards being a future starter.

      3rd round and later are depth, developmental special teams players. Some will contribute more (ex: JC and KJ).

      Some players will have a leg up. In the case of Scherff, he came out of a program that has a reputation for developing offensive linemen. It also helps that his coach was an offensive line coach in the NFL. Other rookies will be overwhelmed with the fact that they are surrounded by their heroes while not realizing that they are now in the league. Others still drop.out because they are bad fits.

      In the end, the draft is about bringing in fresh blood and the more you draft, the better chance of getting contributors. Injuries are a part of the game. You will lose some players due to that factor. It all comes down to who has the ability, drive and commitment. Not to mention being injury free.

      The draft needs to viewed not based on 1season but over the course of several seasons as some players will contribute immediately, others down the road and others will fall out of the league. For a first draft, 4 out of 10 is not bad in the short view.

  8. Zai - Apr 6, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    Just watch his highlights. .. no when to hit the whole, better agility, and finish runs with boom. Looks better then the backs we have, but somebody please tell me they have seen Keith Marshall talking about a complete 2nd back or more. He would be our best back up who can come in the game and break a long one.

  9. Isaiah walker - Apr 6, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    Keith Marshall

  10. James McFullan - Apr 7, 2016 at 2:30 AM

    Todays mock draft no trades
    21: Vernon Hargreaves III CB University of Florida
    53: Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech
    84: Chris Jones DT Mississippi State
    120: Paul Perkins RB UCLA

    Let me know what you think Archives

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