3. Jamie Collins
Jamie Collins is coming off of a career year after returning to the New England Patriots following a rather disappointing two-and-a-half-year stint in Cleveland.
Collins is a versatile player that can line up all over the field. He can play middle linebacker, off-ball outside linebacker, 3-4 edge rusher, and even cover the slot at times.
In today’s NFL, athletic, versatile linebackers are all the more important as most defenses line-up in the nickel defense with three defensive backs on the field over half of the snaps and Collins is the prototype of the new-age hybrid linebacker.
Counting stats usually don’t mean much for linebackers, but they do show how versatile Collins was in 2019. He finished the season with 81 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 10 quarterback hits, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, and seven pass deflections.
This put him in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion as one of the headliners of the NFL’s best defense.
There is cause for concern for Collins though. He was not very impressive in his tenure with the Browns, and much of his success this past season was at the beginning of the season.
In the first six weeks of the season, Collins earned a Pro Football Focus grade of over 90.0 in four of those games. In the final nine games of the season, he earned a grade of over 70.0 only once.
Pro Football Focus is not the end all be all, but it is still something to keep in mind.
According to Spotrac, Collins projected market value is around $8.8 million per year. That puts him a tier below Schobert or Littleton, which is likely due to age, as he is 30 and looking for his last significant contract.