Alabama defensive back Landon Collins has reportedly decided to apply for early entry for the 2015 NFL Draft, the third Crimson Tide safety to do so since last season.
Collins (6-0, 220 pounds), a consensus All-American as a junior this season, was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. His decision was reported by Yahoo Sports' Rand Getlin. Collins led the Crimson Tide in tackles this season with 103, and made three interceptions with seven pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
Alabama safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri entered the draft as juniors last year. They were drafted by the Green Bay Packers (first round) and New Orleans Saints (fifth round), respectively. An NFL scout told NFL Media's Albert Breer in October that Collins is a better safety prospect than both Clinton-Dix and Mark Barron, a first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who came out of Alabama in the 2012 NFL Draft. Collins excels in run support and has good awareness in coverage, but spent much of his time "in the box" on defense, closer to the line of scrimmage rather than roaming the deep part of the field. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, after Collins' performance against Florida in September, called him the top safety in college football.
A report surfaced Thursday saying wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back T.J. Yeldon intend to apply for eligibility in the 2015 draft. Other Alabama underclassmen considering early draft entry include defensive lineman Jarran Reed and linebacker Reggie Ragland.
Underclassmen have until a Jan. 15 deadline to apply for early draft entry.