When Jerod Mayo went down with a season ending injury in week six at Buffalo, we wondered who would step up and fill the void in the middle of the defense. Enter Jamie Collins.

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Collins showed a flash of potential in the Divisional Round of the 2013 Playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts. He was all over the field, wreaking havoc on Andrew Luck and the Colts offense. He finished the day with 6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for a loss, 3 quarterback hits and an interception.

It was a precurser for the linebacker from Southern Mississippi and the buzz surrounding his play has only grown louder.

Collins currently leads the team in tackles (111) with one game left to play. He has forced 3 fumbles, reeled in 2 interceptions and, blocked a field goal. There isn't anything that he hasn't done this season.

According to Pro Football Focus and their in-depth statistical break down, Collins ranks in the top three in three key categories amongst all NFL inside linebackers. Overall, they have Collins ranked 3rd amongst linebackers that have played at least 60% of their teams defensive snaps this season. He is also ranked 3rd in pass rushing situations. Collins jumps up a spot to 2nd against the run.

Collins will continue to be a force on a Patriots defensive unit that gets better every week. To think that this is only his second season is astonishing. What's more astonishing is he isn't even close to reaching his full potential.

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Andrew Sheehan 12/26/2014 03:33:00 PM Edit

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