New England's defense marches into the season with plenty of questions surrounding a depleted secondary. There's little doubt, though, about the play of third-year linebacker Jamie Collins.
"He's a freak,"Rob Gronkowski said of Collins, per Phil Perry of CSN New England. "He's fast, he's long and he's strong. He plays the game of football how it should be. He knows how to hit, he knows how to cover. He's an overall great player so it's great going against guys like him. It makes you compete and gets you better."
We swung and missed on a handful of Making the Leap candidates last season, but not on the unusually versatile Collins, who also thrived against the pass. As Gregg Rosenthal noted last summer, Collins "is a cornerback trapped in a 250-pound body. While most linebackers are forced into pass coverage duties, Collins looks at home on an island."