"I cried," the former Alabama star said. "That's a definite."
Considered the top safety available in the 2015 NFL Draft, Collins models his game after the former Miami Hurricanes star who was tragically killed in a shooting in November, 2007. He wore No. 26 at Alabama in Taylor's honor. And as the kind of safety who supports the run like an extra linebacker, Collins' style isn't unlike Taylor's, either.
"I idolized Sean Taylor for his physical play, his passion for the game, you could see it every time he touched the field," Collins said. "... and I like being physical in the box."
The early-entry junior said he started watching Taylor in high school. Taylor was killed before Collins was even of high school age, but he clarified the comment by citing the homework he has done on the former first-round pick.
"I've watched youtubes on him, I've watched everything -- hour-long videos on him, I watched a 30 for 30," Collins said.
Collins, a potential first-round pick, is at the top of a draft class of safeties that is considered a weak one overall. Clubs that conducted informal interviews with him at the onset of his combine stay included the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.
"Easy first day," Collins joked.
Taylor's former team hasn't yet spoken to Collins, but he's looking forward to it happening. Filling Taylor's shoes as a player is too much to ask of any rookie safety, particularly in Washington. But according to the latest mock draft of NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks, the Redskins will give Collins that chance by making him the No. 5 overall pick of the draft.