Earlier this year, we introduced the Chung-Thompkins Scale in an attempt to predict the impact that five of the New England Patriots’ offseason additions will have on the 2021 team: offensive linemen Trent Brown and Ted Karras, linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Harvey Langi, and running back Tyler Gaffney. What all of them had in common was their past history with the Patriots.
Brown, Karras, Van Noy, Langi and Gaffney all spent time with the organization before and decided to give New England another shot. They were, obviously, not the first players to do that — and also not the last.
Just earlier this week, the Patriots re-signed linebacker Jamie Collins following his release by the Detroit Lions. Collins, who already has two previous stints with the organization on his career résumé, returned on a one-year deal. What kind of impact will he have, though? Let’s put on our predictor hats and try to place him on the Chung-Thompkins Scale (for a more thorough explanation of the scale, please click here):
The Patriots will obviously hope that Collins will turn into another Patrick Chung. A former second-round draft pick who had a solid but unspectacular career in New England, Chung left to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. One year later, however, he was re-signed by the Patriots and quickly became a cornerstone of their second dynastic run: playing a different role better suited for his skills, Chung was integral in the team’s last three Super Bowl wins.
Will the soon-to-be 32-year-old Collins have a similar impact, however? That can be doubted simply based on his age alone. That being said, his talents cannot be denied — as can be his previous performance in the Patriots’ defensive system.
A versatile player capable of filling the hybrid move role in the linebacker room, Collins has shown an ability to line up all over the formation in New England. Take his one-year tenure in 2019: appearing in all 16 games and aligning both on the edge and off the ball, he led the team with seven sacks — playing an integral role in the Patriots finishing the season as the league’s top scoring defense.
With former teammates Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy as well as high-prized offseason acquisition Matthew Judon also in the fold, Collins might be asked to play a more specialized role this season. That said, he still is an impressive athlete who can put pressure on opposing defenses as a downhill penetrator.
While one should not expect him to have the same kind of impact he had in 2019, it would not be a surprise to see him become a valuable member of the linebacker rotation. The group already was a deep one before Collins’ arrival, sure, but as New England recently found out along their offensive line and at cornerback, you can never have enough depth.
As far as the Chung-Thompkins Scale is concerned, Collins should therefore land on the left (positive) side of the Brian Hoyer Line. Maybe he will not reach LeGarrette Blount territory, but the Tully Banta-Cain/Deion Branch area appears to be a realistic target.