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Landon Collins plans to prove 'box safety' label is false

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Landon Collins thought he was a surefire first-round pick.

Then a few weeks before selection day, the notion that the defender was a "box safety" with little range began to spread, widely.

Collins believes that not only did that cause him to fall into the second round, it's not true.

"It bothers me, because I know that I'm not a box safety. I can play in the box, but I'm not a box safety," Collins told The MMQB's Jenny Vrentas. "When I started hearing that, I told the teams, 'You can look at the film. I'm not a box safety.' "

The ex-Alabama safety cited one incompletion against Florida on a pass 30 yards downfield to reinforce his claim.

The Giants traded up to the top pick of the second round to snag Collins. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo dismissed the idea his rookie was a "box safety."

"I know people were tagging him as that box safety," Spagnuolo said. "I didn't see that. I really didn't. Sometimes people just want to put guys in categories. I don't really want to do that right now.

"I think some of that is because in a lot of the sub packages Alabama was in, he was a linebacker. There weren't as many snaps on film that he was back actually covering a guy man to man....But I see a pretty good athlete out there, and if we have to use him in those situations we won't hesitate right now..."

The Giants had a glaring, gaping hole at safety entering the draft that Collins will step into. As a rookie he might struggle in coverage, but Spagnuolo insisted it's a trait that can be learned.

"You can always improve," he said. "It's like a golfer who goes out and hits 1,000 nine-irons and gets better at hitting a nine-iron. Sometimes guys have to take it upon themselves to get better at a skill by putting the time in and the time and the time. So, we'll push that."

I might hit 1,000 nine-irons and improve, but I'll never improve to the point where I can hit a nine-iron on the PGA. Therefore, Collins must have some instinct to be able to cover the deep third.

The rookie said he has that ability and is ready to prove all the doubters wrong.

"I'm about to showcase why I'm not a box safety, and why I should have been in the first round," Collins says. "The Giants know they got the best safety that came out of that draft."

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