Tag Archives: Brian Dawkins

Bama’s Landon Collins Would Be a Good Fit in Philly

16 Apr
Several mock drafts throughout the league are project former Alabama star Landon Collins to be available for the Eagles, who have the 20th pick in the April 30 NFL Draft in Chicago. Photo by Alabama.Rivals. Com

Several mock drafts throughout the league are project former Alabama star Landon Collins to be available for the Eagles, who have the 20th pick in the April 30 NFL Draft in Chicago. Photo by Alabama.Rivals. Com

Collins2

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Barring a bizarre Draft Day move that allows the Philadelphia Eagles to miraculously land 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota or pick up Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in a trade, look for the Birds to fill their needs in the defensive secondary with their first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

If Chip Kelly decides not to go that route with the first pick, he’s either totally forgotten how his secondary melted down in a horrendous three-game losing streak that bounced the Eagles out of playoff contention near the end of last season, or he’s a fool.

In fact, former Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher is probably still chasing Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant down Broad Street.

Last season, the Eagles were 31st in passing yardage allowed and were tied for 28th in the league for touchdown passes allowed with 30. If they’re going to get back to the playoffs, those numbers have to improve dramatically.

During the free agency period, the Birds made a key upgrade to the secondary when they landed former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell. But the Eagles still need a good safety, a position that hasn’t been relevant since the days of Brian Dawkins.

Most of the Mock Drafts have the Eagles taking former Alabama safety Landon Collins (6-feet-0, 225 pounds) with the 20th pick in the first round and from what I’ve seen on film and during the college football season, he will definitely be an improvement.

Collins is a guy who isn’t afraid of hitting people and can act as an enforcer, something the Eagles haven’t had since Dawkins made his way to the Denver Broncos. According to the various online scouting reports, Collins is an aggressive, explosive hitter who can attack teams in the running game. Last season, he led the Crimson Tide with 103 tackles.

In 41 career games, Collins has shown that he can play both safety spots and will probably line up at strong safety for the Eagles. The draft experts are all saying Collins can use his physicality to disrupt opposing receivers. Collins is a big hitter and can play deep in the middle of a defense in pass coverage as well being the eighth man in the box to stop the run.

Collins is also physical enough to matchup against tight ends and if the Eagles draft him, he will see plenty of Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

Of course, like every player coming out of college, Collins does have his share of weaknesses that will have to be worked on as he transitions into the pro game. The word on Collins is that he has average hands, which is why I guess he’s playing on the defensive side of the football. He dropped a pair of easy interceptions in games against Texas A&M and Arkansas last season.

He’s also not the fastest guy, according to NFL.com. According to scouting reports on Collins, he has a propensity to be beaten in a footrace and tends to rely on his recovery speed a bit too much, something you can’t do against guys like Bryant, Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons or Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. Collins also has a tendency to get caught looking in the backfield when quarterbacks call play-action passes. That’s something he’s going to have to learn when he starts playing in the NFL.

At the end of the day, the Eagles would get a guy who doesn’t mind laying the wood on opposing receivers and opposing running backs if they decide to draft Collins. The scouts say he’s the type of player who likes to initiate the action rather than lay back in coverage. His versatility is also a plus.

For a team that hasn’t had a safety that puts the fear of God into wide receivers since 2008, Collins would be a breath of fresh air for an Eagles secondary that could certainly use some.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Malcolm in the Middle: New Eagles Safety Says He’s a Playmaker

13 Mar

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and Philadelphia Sunday Sun

New Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins takes a few questions from reporters during his press conference on Wednesday.

New Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins takes a few questions from reporters during his press conference on Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA—Ever since the team released legendary safety Brian Dawkins after the 2008 season, no one playing in the back end of the Birds secondary has struck fear in the hearts of opposing receivers or tight ends.

In bars and social media chat rooms, Eagles fans reminisce about the “good old days” when Dawkins intimidated opposing pass catchers with his physical play.  Birds fans still have fond memories of the vicious hit Dawkins leveled on then-Atlanta Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler in the NFC title game.

That was 10 years ago and since Dawkins left the team, opposing receivers have roamed the Eagles secondary without fear of violent retribution from Birds safeties.

With the signing of former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who will apparently start at free safety position, the Birds have made a significant improvement on what they’ve had in the last couple of years.  He signed a three-year deal reportedly worth $16.25 million, $8.5 million is guaranteed.

If anything else, the six-foot, 204-pound Jenkins comes in with a solid reputation in terms of his work ethic and leadership.  He was the Saints team captain on defense for the last two seasons, a position he earned because he was respected by his teammates. From 2009 to 2013, he had 358 total tackles (275 solo), 4.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, six interceptions with a pair of touchdowns.

“He has been a productive football player his entire football career, both in New Orleans and at Ohio State,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “Everything you hear about Malcolm as a person is true. We are excited to add a guy like that to the culture we’ve established here.”

Watching a few snippets of him on film, Jenkins is certainly a better hitter than what the Eagles have had in their secondary for the last five to six years. He can also make plays defending passes.

“We really liked Malcolm’s versatility,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “He can line up at either safety spot, can come in and make a tackle and can play man-to-man as well.”

Jenkins said he chose to come to the Eagles because he felt the Birds defensive scheme under defensive coordinator Billy Davis was an ideal fit for his abilities as a safety.

“That was one of the big questions. I wanted to know how they were going to use me,” Jenkins said. “They loved the fact that I was versatile. I can go in the slot, I can cover tight ends and blitz. I’m smart enough to take on a lot and be the leader in the back end and get guys lined up, digest the playbook and be the quarterback of the defense.”

Jenkins doesn’t come without issues. The website, Pro Football Focus.com, which tracks football statistics, rated him as the worst safety in the game in 2012. The website also said quarterbacks have posted a 96.3 passer rating against when teams target him in the passing game.

Pro Football Focus also said Jenkins also has a penchant for missing tackles. He has the dubious distinction of being one of three safeties to miss 20 tackles in 2013.

“I can’t really tell you that, but I think I’ve made a bunch of plays, game-changing plays in my career,” Jenkins said when asked about the rating from Pro Football Focus. “I think everybody has something to prove. If you were to ask me one of things I need to improve I would say tackling.

“I think that’s only happened over the last couple of seasons and that has to do with change of scheme and change of positions. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem going forward.”

Jenkins said he’s not the second coming of Brian Dawkins, but believe he’s going to make a splash with what he brings to the table.

“I think what the fans want is that play-making safety-whether it be from a big hit or from interceptions,” Jenkins said. “You want that safety that takes control of the defense, be a leader and make plays.”