2021 NFL Draft Profile: WR Nico Collins
Nico Collins has everything that NFL talent evaluators love coming out of college. He’s big, fast, has sure hands, and has incredible testing numbers. The only thing missing from his profile? Production.
Collins landed at Michigan as a highly touted recruit, and there were lofty expectations set for the young receiver. Unfortunately, Collins was the victim of poor offenses during his time at Michigan due to poor quarterback play. Shea Patterson wasn’t able to help Collins live up to expectations during his time there, and we never got to see the young receiver play with another signal-caller. Collins opted out of the 2020 CFB season, so it’s been a while since we’ve seen him on the football field.
The athletic profile and the traits are all there, but it’s tough to evaluate Collins due to the quarterback play. Collins was rarely even given a chance to make a play on the ball deep downfield due to Patterson’s inaccuracy, but when he had those opportunities, we saw flashes of brilliance.
So will an NFL team take a swing on the talented wideout and give him the draft capital he needs to be relevant for fantasy football? Or are there too many gaps that we could see Collins take a slide on draft day?
These questions are answered here in our scouting profile on Nico Collins:
Weight: 215 lbs.
Arms: 34 1/8
40-Yard Dash: 4.42
Vertical Jump: 37.5
Broad Jump: 125
Bench: 14 Reps
Short Shuttle: 4.29
3-Cone Drill: 6.78
Skills Breakdown (out of 100)
Route Running (74.5): Collins is a big-bodied receiver that can go up and highpoint the football. He runs a wide variety of routes, but he lacks refinement within the top of his breaks. Tends to round out his routes rather than snapping in and out. Works with his size well, though, and can be a vertical and intermediate threat.
Athleticism/Agility (75): Good athlete for his size. He lacks elite burst or agility, but he has good overall athleticism for being 220 pounds.
Hands (77): Solid receiving ability and good hand-eye coordination. No drops on tape and shows strong hands when going up to highpoint the ball.
Contested Catch Ability (78.5): Able to shield defenders off well due to his large frame in the middle of the field and can then go up and highpoint the football with his size and length. He understands how to create positioning deep downfield and put himself in the best possible position to make a play on the ball.
Run After Catch Ability (76.5): Certainly won’t break tackles consistently after the catch with his twitch or short-area quickness, but has more than enough speed to pull away from defenders if he’s able to take the reception in stride.
Release (75): Good release and able to fight off contact well at the LOS and get defenders routinely flipping their hips. He lacks the overall burst to take advantage of this, but it does give him slight leverage that he can then utilize his contested catch ability with.
Deep Ball Tracking (76): Hard evaluation due to playing with Shea Patterson. Passes were routinely airmailed or under-thrown, making it difficult to gauge Collins’ proficiency in this area. However, he did show an excellent ability to adjust to the ball on a back-shoulder throw in the end zone against Indiana in 2019. Limited sample size, but it seems the ability is there.
Speed (75): Possesses enough straight line speed to be a vertical threat downfield. He’s unlikely to break the 4.4’s in the 40-yard dash, but he has enough speed with his size to be a solid field-stretching option paired with his contested-catch ability.
Nico Collins can go up and get it! pic.twitter.com/obaGuOVxMs
– Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) March 4, 2021
One opt-out player who showed up looking different at Senior Bowl was @UMichFootball WR Nico Collins. @lbg_nico7 was 230 lbs on ’19 tape but weighed 215 lbs in Mobile. This rep winning vertical vs maybe the fastest player in the game, Oklahoma CB Tré Brown, is evidence of that. pic.twitter.com/Bduo0ev4Ec
– Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 13, 2021
They Said It
Projected Draft Range
Due to the unknowns and the incomplete nature of his tape evaluation, it’s a mystery where Collins will go in the NFL Draft. However, in a draft that doesn’t feature many big-bodied possession receivers, a team is likely to take a swing on the talented wideout on Day 2.
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot
The Kansas City Chiefs have a need at wide receiver opposite Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, particularly a bigger-bodied receiver. Collins could easily be a target for them at the back end of round two, which would immediately elevate him into the late first-round Dynasty rookie draft conversation.
Equanimeous St. Brown was 6’4/214 coming out of Notre Dame and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the Combine. Collins stands at essentially an identical size but is just slightly faster. They should be utilized in a very similar role in the NFL. It’ll just be up to Collins to see if he can make more of an impact.
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