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Photo credit: Nancy Lane
Even if you’re not a fan of the Patriots but paid attention to the playoffs last season, you probably know who Jamie Collins is by now.

New England’s first pick of the 2013 draft (taken in the second round) was overshadowed for the majority of last season by the now-departed Brandon Spikes (Collins barely saw the field until Week 14). However, when Collins was on the field for the latter part of the season and the post-season, his presence was felt.

In the AFC Divisional Round against the Indianapolis Colts, Collins was a force, as he hit Colts quarterback Andrew Luck four times, one of which included a sack and another play that almost caused an interception.

When he was not asked to go after the quarterback, he was shutting down another part of the field. You can ask the Ravens’ tight ends all about that. In that Week 16 match up, a 41-07 beat down by New England, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson were limited to a combined 8 catches for 78 yards, and Collins was a huge reason for that.

Collins is exactly the type of player head coach Bill Belichick loves. His speed and pass rushing abilities make him a huge threat across the board, as Rosenthal compares him to the player everyone thought Adalius Thomas should have been around these parts (which, believe it or not, is a HUGE compliment). Though he was a safety for part of his collegiate career, Collins played multiple positions last season, including inside and outside linebacker, and occasionally defensive end.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com has safety Devin McCourty quoted as saying that Collins can do everything.
“He’s one of those freakish athletes that can do what we do as defensive backs and as a linebacker.”

With Spikes now toiling in Buffalo, Collins, if he stays healthy, should see a significant jump in playing time. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Collins make the jump as a three-down player this year, but it also could be risky to put lofty expectations on a player who was mostly invisible until the end of the regular season.

That said, the Patriots are going to give him every chance to break out and consistently become the impact player Patriots fans quickly grew to love at the end of last season. If he sustains his momentum, he’ll be a major reason the Patriots defense will be a top-10 unit.

What do you think? Tweet me and let's talk - @JesseGaunce

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Jesse Gaunce 7/15/2014 01:17:00 PM Edit
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