The Atlanta Falcons chose Louisiana State cornerback Jalen Collins with their second-round pick, selecting him with the 42nd overall selection. Collins adds size and athleticism to a Falcons secondary that had a large hole at nickel cornerback given the losses of three free-agent reserves at that position.
The Falcons saw the offseason departures of incumbent nickel cornerbacks Robert McClain, Josh Wilson and Javier Arenas. Collins provides much-needed depth and much-needed size. His potential to play in the press-heavy scheme installed by new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn on defense makes him a good fit in Atlanta.
Collins comes to Atlanta with minimal starts at the collegiate level. He was a regular part of the LSU secondary all three years he was at the school, but only logged 10 career starts. Most of those came this past year as a junior, where he logged seven starts thanks to a suspension to starter Rashard Robinson. But despite the limited starting experience, Collins’ play spoke for itself on the field. He earned his reputation going toe-to-toe with Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper this past year. Collins had career-highs of 38 tackles and nine pass breakups this past year, along with one interception. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a completion percentage of just 40.9 percent this past year. As a freshman Collins played behind Tharold Simon, who is now with the Seattle Seahawks, and recorded 30 tackles, six breakups and a pair of interceptions. His junior year, he had 22 tackles and two pass breakups.
Collins measured in at 6’1″ 203 at the Combine and had the long 32-inch arms that a press corner needs. He clocked a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and placed second at the Combine with a 6.77-second three-cone drill. He also had a 36-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump.
Collins does come to Atlanta with some off-field concerns and medical red flags. Collins reportedly failed multiple drug tests during his time at LSU and also had offseason surgery to repair a broken foot. Collins was able to work through the Combine with the foot injury and hopes are that he’ll be healthy enough to participate in minicamps later this spring.