The Patriots announced on Friday that they have come to terms with defensive end/outside linebacker Jamie Collins, their second-round choice out of Southern Mississippi. The terms of the contract have not yet been released by the team.
After trading out of the first round of the 2013 Draft, Bill Belichick and the Patriots targeted Collins, a freakishly athletic pass rusher at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds. Collins caught the eye of many with a strong showing at the combine, being the top performer at his position in the 40-yard dash (4.64 sec), vertical (41.5 inch), broad jump (139 inch), cone drill (7.10 sec) and the 60 yard shuttle run (11.55 sec).
Collins likely also got the team's attention with his success in many roles while in college. At Southern Miss, he played defensive back during his freshman and sophomore years and was then moved to the defensive line for his junior and senior seasons. It's not exactly an easy transition for most players, but it was seamless for Collins.
On a very bad Golden Eagles team that went 0-12 last season, Collins stood out, turning in a solid 92 tackle season including 10 sacks during his senior year. He was named team MVP for his outstanding efforts.
As for where he will fit in the Patriots' defensive scheme, Belichick has said that we will likely see him play more linebacker than anything else. But he knows that he can also use the versatile Collins on the d-line, as well as in the secondary, if he's absolutely needed.
Arguably the most versatile and athletic defensive player the Patriots have drafted in a long time, and it's got me excited.