NY Jets: Possible mid-round WR target shining in Senior Bowl practices

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Jets may be preoccupied with Deshaun Watson rumors and the recent hiring of new head coach Robert Saleh, but don’t think that means they’ve ignored the draft process.

The Senior Bowl is oftentimes viewed as the official start of draft season. After all, there’s a reason they say “the draft starts in Mobile.”

The official game takes place on Saturday, but it’s often the week of practices leading up to the game where players truly make or break their draft stock.

This is the time where coaches and scouts get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the top seniors from around the country. Many of which will be top-100 picks in this year’s draft.

Bleacher Report’s Tyler Brooke recently released a list of one prospect that each NFL team should covet at the 2021 Senior Bowl. And the player he had connected to the Jets was none other than Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins.

The NY Jets could target Nico Collins in the 2021 NFL Draft

Collins has been one of Mobile’s top standouts impressing scouts and helping boost his draft stock. That’s especially important too, given that this is the first tape scouts will be seeing on him since the 2019 season.

Collins was one of the many college football players who opted-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. However, the last time we saw him on the field, Collins was one of the fastest rising young receivers in the nation.

The Alabama native finished second on the team in receiving in 2019 hauling in 37 catches for 729 yards and seven touchdowns despite playing in a stacked wide receiver corps.

Now in Mobile, Collins is quickly making up for lost time.

A dynamic vertical threat, Collins has the size and speed to be a dangerous downfield weapon in any offense. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Collins has no issues in contested catch situations where he can put his large frame to good use.

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But it’s his deep speed that makes him so deadly on vertical routes. Collins might struggle to separate on underneath routes from time to time, but he almost always manages to get a step on his man when working 20+ tards downfield.

Unfortunately, Collins’ production struggled in college due to lackluster quarterback play. The likes of Shea Patterson and company didn’t exactly give Michigan much of a chance to attack downfield meaning that Collins’ talent was never fully maximized.

He’s a prime example of someone who could and should be a much more productive player in the NFL.

The Jets already have a player who projects similarly to Collins in Denzel Mims as both fit that similar vertical X receiver role. However, Collins could still make sense as a mid-round target.

Next. NY Jets: 5 prospects to watch at the 2021 Senior Bowl

His standout performance at the Senior Bowl is only helping increase his stock and the Jets are one of many teams that could come calling in a few months’ time.