Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday, we looked at No. 92 Malcom Brown, and the day before that it was No. 93 Jabaal Sheard. Because today marks 91 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 91, rising star Jamie Collins.
What you have to understand about Collins, first and foremost, is that he is probably the most promising player on the Patriots’ roster right now. Coming off a season in which he led all NFL inside linebackers with 26 quarterback pressures, Collins has to be regarded as one of the most valuable assets the Patriots have at their disposal.
This won’t be the first time you hear this writer scream that Collins is a legitimate contender for Defensive Player of the Year in 2015.
Collins was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft; the Pats didn’t have a first round pick that spring, so he was their first pick of the draft. Although he didn’t receive major attention in his rookie year, Collins dutifully went about his business, steadily improving over the course of the season before breaking out in the divisional round of the 2014 playoffs against the Colts with a sack and an athletic interception.
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In the 2014, Collins picked up where he left off at the end of his rookie season, recording 116 tackles (31 more than the next-best total on the team), four sacks, four forced fumbles, and a pair of interceptions. Without a doubt, Collins was a Pro Bowl snub.
Not surprisingly, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder also led the Patriots in the playoffs with 23 combined tackles, including eight huge stops in Super Bowl XLIX.
This won’t be the first time you hear this writer scream that Collins is a legitimate contender for Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. Collins’ mix of pure athleticism, instincts and physicality will be on full display in the Southern Miss product’s third season in the league.
If you’re thinking about ordering a new Patriots jersey, put some serious thought into Collins. Having tasted the Lombardi Trophy, Collins is well on his way to becoming the next Willie McGinest.
Check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 90 days until Patriots kick-off by profiling No. 90, Zach Moore.