Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 8/9/13
The Patriots knew what they were getting in Jamie Collins when they selected him in the second round of this year’s draft. On Friday night, they finally got to see it full speed in game action. The rookie was impressive in his first on-field action in the NFL, showing off his versatility as well as the athleticism scouts coveted so dearly throughout the draft process. Collins mostly played on his feet as an outside linebacker, running with the second-team defense, but he did also drop down onto the defensive line on a few times and even spread out wide to cover the slot receiver on occasion. That sort of versatility is exactly the skill set that Bill Belichick covets and what the Patriots’ defense desperately needs. Last season, the Patriots struggled to rush the passer consistently and their linebackers seemed almost incapable of covering anyone out in the flat. Collins can help in both of those areas this year, just as he showed in the Patriots 31-22 win over the Eagles on Friday. Collins was something of a mixed bag in the preseason opener, but, for the most part at least, the good outweighed the bad. On his first series of the game, Collins rushed quarterback Nick Foles twice. He was stood up at the line on the first rush, getting no pressure into the backfield, but he came blazing through a gap in the offensive line the second time but missed out on the sack as he ran right by a scrambling Foles. The pressure alone was enough to raise a few eyebrows and ease any feelings of concern about a situational rusher. It’s not to say Collins will, be that guy consistently, or at all, this season, but it’s comforting to know that he’s capable of it. He didn’t excel in coverage on night one, like many thought he would, be he did show off enough speed to stick with tight ends. Collins will need to work on his lateral quickness and changing directions if he plans to cover running backs, but the coverage was sufficient for his first real action. One area where he did impress, unexpectedly too, was in defending the run. Collins lit up Eagles running back Bryce Brown at the line of scrimmage, stopping him for a one-yard gain, early in the second quarter. He also helped down on the line on a few other runs and screen passes, not recording anything on the stat sheet but providing help nonetheless. The game still seemed to be moving a bit fast for Collins on the whole, but he managed to make enough good reads on the offense and showed improved reaction time as the game rolled on. He’ll definitely face some growing pains this season, and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but the versatility is a definite plus. And when he finally settles down and it all comes together, he’s going to be good. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here. Filed under: Luke Hughes, New England Patriots, Opinion, Top Stories
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker