Jalen Collins: New Orleans Saints say they're 'highly interested'

Given the New Orleans' Saints close proximity to LSU, it's safe to say they have a good idea of the talent level located just up the road in Baton Rouge.

While the Saints have not gone out of their way to select Tigers in previous NFL drafts, but that might not be the case this year.

"They said they're highly interested," cornerback Jalen Collinstold The Advocate after the team's pro day Friday, adding that he spoke with Saints secondary coach Wesley McGriff. "He said he likes big corners, and he likes what he saw from the combine."

Collins did not participate in LSU's annual pro day, which drew nearly 100 scouts, coaches, and front office personnel to the team's indoor facility, but he did spend plenty of time with NFL representatives in a number of informal meetings with teams. Collins underwent foot surgery to repair a fracture last week after learning of the injury at the NFL Scouting Combine.

As a result, all teams have to go on for Collins is his tape from his junior year and the numbers he put up in Indianapolis, which included a 4.48 40-yard dash time despite the injury.

Cornerback might not be among the Saints' biggest needs, but it's not hard to see why they could be doing their homework on Collins. He has perhaps as much upside as anybody in the draft at his position, given his size, and he certainly flashed plenty of ability during his time at LSU. He is NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's second-rated cornerback in the draft.

The Saints have two first-round picks, at No. 13 and No. 31, which they received from Seattle in the Jimmy Graham trade. All six NFL Media mock drafts project Collins as a first-rounder, ranging from the No. 16 pick to No. 31, where Charley Casserly projects him to the Saints. Collins would represent a continued youth movement on defense and could step in right away for the team as a nickel corner before eventually assuming a starting role for Rob Ryan's defense.

The Saints are not the only ones evaluating him. Collins also has upcoming visits with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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