When day two of the 2015 NFL Draft concluded, there was probably no happier team on that day than the New York Giants, who kicked off the day by trading up for the Tennessee Titans’ second round pick (the first pick of the second round) and selected Alabama safety Landon Collins.
The selection itself was not a surprise, but many who attended the draft Thursday night were very surprised to not see Collins grace the stage then. ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay had Collins going as early as the 20th pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. Another popular choice between analysts had Collins going to the Indianapolis Colts with the 29th pick, citing the departure of LaRon Landry as a means for the Colts to take him.
Since 2013, Giants general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin began addressing the team’s serious issues through their selections in the draft, beginning with their first-round selection of offensive lineman Justin Pugh that year. The Giants once again selected an offensive lineman with their first pick this year with Miami’s Ereck Flowers. The offensive line position has been one of the troubling issues New York has had in recent years, which the team has been taking action on.
The other situation now is the secondary. Taking into consideration the exodus of defensive backs from the Giants this offseason, Reese and Coughlin jumped at the chance of snagging the Alabama safety, believing they received a first-round value for the price of a second-round selection (the Giants traded to the Titans a second, fourth and seventh round selection to move up).
Despite knowing where he has ended up, many still wonder how and why Collins fell as far as he did. It certainly wasn’t a question of character, as many selections from this year’s draft had that problem. Many looked at his capabilities of being able to cover at an effective level. Alabama’s lone conference loss last year was a shocking 23-17 contest against the Rebels of Ole Miss.
Leading 17-10 with six minutes remaining, the Rebels struck twice in a matter of minutes with Bo Wallace connecting with Vince Sanders, who burned Collins and cornerback Tony Brown on the coverage, for the 34-yard game-tying strike. The next Rebels score struck closer to home for Collins, as he was beaten in coverage by receiver Jaylen Walton for what was the game-winning score.
Many were quick to point out Collins’ ability to cover as a possible Achilles heel at the NFL level. However, Reese and Coughlin are willing to take that chance on the highly-talented defensive back. With the New York Giants, he has working in his favor a highly-regarded professional environment and the all-but-guaranteed opportunity to play.
At the safety position currently, the Giants have Josh Gordy, Nat Berhe, Cooper Taylor and Thomas Gordon. Out of the four, only Gordy has started in the NFL as a safety. Another plus is being under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive genius behind New York’s Super Bowl XLII upset of the New England Patriots. Collins has all the support and guidance with where he ended up, and now he will get the chance to mold his craft as a professional with the Giants.