A good article on Collins


Dec 15, 2004
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Early reports sound promising. For all the ripping the Packers took from the media "experts" for selecting this guy, I sure hope this kid can prove them wrong.

Can't get too excited about him though before we see him in some actual games, but it's nice to read a few promising things about him. I hope he can learn fast enough to become the starter because we need help there.



Dec 9, 2004
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San Jose, Ca.
Rookie Collins looks for jump start
Safety expects to be in lineup

Special to Packer Plus
Posted: June 8, 2005

Green Bay - Nick Collins has yet to find a place of residence in Green Bay. The Packers' rookie safety, like many of the team's newcomers, is staying in a hotel for the time being.

And Collins admits, he kind of likes it.

"It's not bad," Collins said last week. "I don't have to clean up."

In his room that is. As for the football field, now that's another story.

Green Bay's situation at safety might be messier than any team in football. Veterans Darren Sharper and Bhawoh Jue left in the off-season. Free agents Earl Little and Arturo Freeman were added, while 2004 bust Mark Roman remained.

The Packers then took Collins, a Bethune-Cookman product, in the second round of the NFL draft. And with a less than stellar lot in front of him, Collins could be asked to start from Day 1.

"Do we expect him to be a starter? Yes," said Joe Baker, who coaches the team's safeties. "Do we expect him to be a good player in the league? Yes. And I think it will happen sooner than later. I think there's a good chance he'll be a starter this year and maybe right away. A very good chance."

Much of that could be up to Collins.

In the team's minicamp last week, he continued to display the athleticism that made him the 51st overall pick in the draft. Collins worked with the second unit along with fellow rookie Marviel Underwood and was extremely active. He intercepted a pass on the opening day of camp, was around the ball on a regular basis and showed great improvement from where he was during the post-draft camp.

"He's getting better every day," defensive coordinator Jim Bates said.

The 5-foot-11, 206-pound Collins is undoubtedly a rare athlete, running a 4.37 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine and a 4.34 during his campus day. He has a 40-inch vertical leap, and has always been a playmaker, notching 12 interceptions and 25 pass break-ups during his final two years with the Wildcats.

What scared some teams, though, was his ability to grasp a defense.

Collins was a Proposition 48 casualty and was forced to sit out his first year at Bethune-Cookman. Then, more flags were raised when he scored just 14 on the 50-question Wonderlic test.

Athletes have 12 minutes to finish the Wonderlic and often fail to complete it. Collins was no different, getting to just 24 questions before his time ran out.

"It wasn't hard," Collins said. "But it's timed and I didn't get to everything."

Collins is making sure he's getting to everything now, though.

When he arrived in Green Bay, he was given a playbook that's a good three inches thick - at least four times the size of the one he had in college. And Collins knows that how quickly he grasps the defense will probably determine how much he plays this season.

"I'm trying to get into that book like an hour-and-a-half a day," said Collins, who is wearing No. 36, a number that hadn't been doled out since LeRoy Butler retired. "I know a lot of it right now. But I'm still thinking more than I'm playing.

"When I get the grasp of everything, I'll be ready to go. It might take a while, might be ready, might not."

The Packers would love Collins to be ready. While it remains early, he appears to be one of the few who has the play-making potential that Green Bay's defense lacked a year ago. Whether he's able to show it right away, though, won't be decided until training camp.

"Right now, I see the athlete that we saw on the college tape," said Baker, who worked Collins out shortly before the draft and gave a glowing review to the Packers brass. "He can run and turn and cover and catch the ball with the best of 'em. He'll be one of those rare safeties that can play a snap or two at corner if you need him to.

"He runs around and gets his hands on a lot of balls and some guys are like that. They have that quality. The guy made plays in college and he showed that quality. Not everybody has that same production that he's had and he's showed that so far.

"But the key is the learning and the learning never stops. Not only does this guy have to learn the defense, he has to learn it well enough so he can direct the defense. So that's the hardest thing for any rookie and that will be the hardest thing for Nick. But Nick has done well. He's done better than a lot of other rookie safeties I've had before."

The finest young safety Baker has worked with was Donovin Darius in Jacksonville. Darius, the 25th overall pick in 1999, started 14 games as a rookie, and Baker says it isn't a stretch to expect the same from Collins.

That's quite a comparison, especially considering Darius has become a franchise player with the Jaguars. But Collins said the only way he's thinking is big.

"My mind-set coming in is to start, know what I'm saying," he said. "I've been a starter all my life and I don't want to change that. I've just got to stay in that book, run, make sure I stay in shape. And when I come into training camp, be ready to compete."

And perhaps help clean up a real problem area.


May 21, 2005
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North Dakota
It sure seemed like a stretch when we took him when we did; however, it's just one of those things. If he plays well, it's a hell of a pick. Hindsight is and always will be 20-20!

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