This group of wide receivers entering the 2021 NFL Draft is profound and because of that, rankings will be all over the place. Someone you need to pay attention to Nico Collins, the stud wide receiver from the University of Michigan. This guy has an excellent opportunity to be a big-time player in the NFL. Let us Go Blue….and dive into the Nico Collins rookie profile.
Collins measures in at 6’4” and 215 pounds which is the prototypical size of a wideout in the NFL. He posted a respectable 4.43 40-yard dash at the Michigan Pro Day and smoked the 3-cone drill with a 6.71. Here is where his 3-cone time compares to some of the other notable receivers in this draft class: Kadarius Toney (6.88), D’Wayne Eskridge (6.95), Ja’Marr Chase (6.96), and Tamorrion Terry (7.00). I know there is no combine this season, but Collins 3-cone would be among the fastest of all wide receivers who participated in their respective Pro Days. He also ranked in the top 10 overall in the broad and vertical jump. You would think because of his size he would be “just” an outside X receiver, but I believe he could also be moved into the slot on occasion because of his wheels and agility. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Collins’ athletic testing gives him an 89th percentile speed score and a 94th percentile catch radius.
Collins went to Michigan after a stellar high school career in Birmingham, Alabama. In his final two years of high school, he posted 103 catches for 1,968 yards and 25 TDs. Both Georgia and Alabama heavily recruited him out of high school, but the 4-star recruit instead went north to Ann Arbor. 247Sports.com had him as the 2nd best WR out of Alabama in the 2017 class behind Henry Ruggs.
Even though Collins played three seasons for the Wolverines, he did not start until his sophomore year. He saw action in only two games as a freshman and caught three passes for 27 yards. In his sophomore year, he started 11 out of 13 games and caught 38 passes for 632 yards and 6 TDs. Only Donovan Peoples-Jones had more receptions and scores than he did in 2018. His production this season qualified as his breakout, giving him a 19.5 breakout age (80th percentile). In his junior season, Nico went 37/729/7. Among players with more than two receptions, Collins led Michigan, as well as the Big Ten conference, with 19.7 yards per reception. He was also named Michigan’s Offensive Player of the Year for 2019. Collins decided to come back for his senior season, but after the Big Ten announced that it was canceling its season due to COVID-19, he signed with an agent and started preparing for the NFL Draft. Once the conference decided they were going to play in 2020, Nico did not want to change course because all his training for the season had already gone by, and he did not want to hurt his draft stock. He did what Deion Sanders made famous – “a business decision!”
Collins is a big-bodied receiver, and he plays with that mentality. He is very physical at the point of attack, has excellent hands, and will not shy away from contested catch opportunities. Nico has drawn comparisons to N’Keal Harry and DK Metcalf with his body control and contested-catch plays. He has excellent timing when it comes to high-pointing balls, and he will not “LeBron”… I mean flop.. when it comes to a defender encountering him. If a defender is going to get a DPI call against him, they will earn it! Nico has shown through his career, Senior Bowl, and Pro Day that he has quick acceleration and decent short-to-mid-range speed, and he rarely drops passes.
With all that being said, there are some things that he must work on at the next level. In the Senior Bowl and the Michigan Pro Day, he showed flashes of quickness and speed, but when you watch the Michigan tape on him, there is not much of that there. He is not blowing by anyone, and he seems to have trouble getting off defenders in press coverage. I think those things will be something he needs to work on, but when he gets into an NFL training camp and gets the proper coaching, those things can be corrected.
NFL Draft Possibilities
Like I said in the intro, this wide receiver class is crazy deep. There is a variety of talent, from speedsters to giants, but I think Nico has created himself a nice little niche.
I have him currently as my WR12 in the 2021 NFL Draft class. He is a breakout waiting to happen that will likely fall to late day two in the 2021 NFL Draft. This means he will be a steal in your dynasty rookie drafts! With teams that could be looking at drafting a wide receiver, I could see Collins fitting in easily with the Lions, Texans, Jets, and Packers.
The Lions would be an excellent fit for him as he would stay close to home and help fill the void left by WR1 Kenny Golladay, who went to the Giants in free agency. Currently, Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are the starting WRs for the Lions, so…they could use the talent.
Much like some of the other WRs in this class, like Tylan Wallace, Dyami Brown, and Tamorrion Terry, Nico is a great athlete but he does not necessarily excel at any one aspect. He has a lot of upside to his game, but he is a project for sure. The landing spot is not necessarily a significant factor for Nico. I do not think he will start right out of the gate, so he will have time to perfect the craft.
Making comps in the off-season is so much fun. I know some people hate it, but it is fun to think of what kind of player your prospect could turn into. They usually are not that close, but I am throwing one out there to give you an overall sense of Nico’s play style, size, and physicality: A-Rob. Allen Robinson is a big-bodied, possession receiver who has great athleticism and great hands. He is good at making those contested catches but is not going to blow any doors down. That is my comp, and that concludes my profile on 2021 NFL prospect Nico Collins.
Thank you for checking out my Nico Collins Rookie Profile – 2021 NFL Draft, and be sure to keep our dynasty page bookmarked as we will be dropping content here all offseason!