Sep 21, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato (12) is hit by Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end J.R. Collins (42) during the first quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 NFL Draft has been over for a couple of days and many undrafted free agents have signed deals with nine former Hokies included in the group that was drafted or has signed an undrafted free agent contract. However, one of the players that has not yet signed an undrafted free agent contract is former Hokies’ defensive end J.R. Collins. J.R. Collins still seems likely to get a chance and it is a shame that he has been unable to get that chance just yet.
J.R. Collins had a fairly successful Virginia Tech career though a disappointing junior season really hurt his NFL Draft stock. However, J.R. Collins’s best season as a Hokie came this past fall as Collins had 51 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble in what was a very good season. Collins’s solid stats show a man that at least should have a chance in the NFL as an undrafted free agent like his fellow former Hokies on the defensive line, James Gayle and Derrick Hopkins.
One of the biggest issues people have said about J.R. Collins is that he is undersized but Collins is 6-2 and around 245 pounds when that is good enough for a 3-4 OLB and Collins can bulk up just a little to be a 4-3 DE. Also, Collins was more productive at Virginia Tech than some of these other players at smaller programs that faced weaker competition. Collins was productive and we saw how a guy that was seen as undersized in Dee Ford had a more successful season than Collins and went in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Collins is a speed rusher that has decent speed and can bench 20 reps so he is fairly strong and explosive.
For now, J.R. Collins is playing the waiting game for a call that will give him his chance to make it in the National Football League. Collins has had some issues in the past with missing meeting and not staying in shape but he has gotten his act together and there are plenty of teams that could use some solid depth at defensive end. J.R. Collins has learned his lessons and deserves his chance in the NFL. J.R. Collins also has been a productive football player that has the skills to be a NFL player. The real question is, will he get that chance?
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