No longer a snub: Giants take Landon Collins to open second round
Landon Collins was disappointed to be left out of Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft, but he didn’t have to wait long for a pick-me-up Friday night.
The New York Giants traded three picks to move up seven spots to take Collins with the opening pick of the night, 33rd overall and first of the second round. Collins is the second Alabama player to be drafted so far in 2015, following wide receiver Amari Cooper, who went fourth overall to the Raiders.
An all-everything safety as a two-year starter in the SEC, Collins’ ball skills and supreme tackling ability are strengths that should translate well. Not as tall as some NFL safeties at 6-foot, Collins packs plenty of punch at just under 230 pounds and moves well in pursuit. He finished with more than 100 tackles in 2014 as an All-American for the Crimson Tide, spearheading an SEC championship secondary.
At Alabama, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart trusted Collins at both safety spots and often let him creep toward the line of scrimmage on first and second down situations. Last year he logged 102 tackles and three interceptions on his way to being a Thorpe Award finalist.
He fills a need for the Giants, who were thin at safety, prompting them to trade up for Collins, a widely regarded first-round talent who fell to Night 2.
Collins could immediately rise to the top half of starting NFL safeties in terms of defending the run. To reach his full potential, he’ll have to improve in pass coverage, which could take a few seasons. Sometimes teams catch him peeking into the backfield, but his footwork also needs improvement.
The 2015 draft class is considered weak at safety, a sort of insurance policy for Collins. He’s the second safety picked in the draft.
SDS writer Brad Crawford contributed to this story.