Rookie Rundown: WR Nico Collins, Michigan

Rookie Rundown: WR Nico Collins, Michigan

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: WR Nico Collins, Michigan

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Michigan Wolverines wideout Nico Collins did himself a solid at his school’s pro day, running a faster time than expected and showing fluidity some may not have expected from such a large target.

Collins sat out the 2020 season, due to COVID-19 concerns, so teams have two full seasons of tape to rely on to assess just what to expect at the next level.

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 215 pounds
40 time: 4.42 seconds

Collins proved to be a downfield weapon in his time at U of M. He was hardly involved as a true freshman before showing efficiency and a knack for scoring touchdowns as a sophomore.

In his final season in Ann Arbor, Mich., he went on to earn the school’s Offensive Player of the Year Award. No Big Ten receiver averaged more yards per catch in 2019 than Collins.

Table: Nico Collins NCAA stats (2017-19)

Year
School
Class
Gm*
Receiving
Rushing
Rec
Yds
Avg
TD
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
2017
Michigan
FR
2
3
27
9
0
0
0
0
2018
Michigan
SO
13
38
632
16.6
6
0
0
0
2019
Michigan
JR
12
37
729
19.7
7
0
0
0
Career
78
1,388
17.8
13
0
0
0

*includes postseason/bowl games

There will be some teams intrigued enough by Collins to consider selecting him in the late second round, but he is a more likely Round 3 choice. There’s an off-chance the former Wolverine doesn’t get his name called until Round 4, since it’s a deep class at the position.

Pros

  • Possesses an advantage in 50/50 situations with height, vertical jump (37 1/2 inches), timing and aggressiveness
  • Tracks deep ball well and displays late hands to keep defenders guessing
  • Quality speed down the field — not a burner but has accessible build-up speed
  • Hands catcher and does so with authority
  • Plenty to work with as a blocker — size and willingness to improve
  • Can create last-minute separation with body control and size — with a window is a foot or so, every bit helps, and Collins can really shine with accurate ball placement
  • Efficient production in 2018 and ’19
  • Considerable upside after sitting out 2020

Cons

  • Tough to find film of him without a defender in his back pocket on intermediate and shorter routes
  • Struggles to escape press coverage against more physical corners
  • Lacks polish as a route runner and could use more disciplined footwork
  • Will be limited in routes available to match his traits at the next level — best utilized as a situation player early on with a chance to develop into a capable No. 2
  • With upside of being raw comes downside of being raw — potential worry in a league that has shortened the third- and fourth-year breakout bell curve to a season or two before teams grow impatient

Fantasy football outlook

It’s hard to not see a more powerful version of current Detroit Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams when watching Collins work. Both are tall deep threats whose speed is just enough to make them dangerous in a straight line. Collins is a better jump-ball receiver and has more strength in his game, though Williams (6-foot-3 1/2, 204 pounds) demonstrated greater consistency in shedding defenders.

Collins probably will have an extremely limited role as a rookie, and his career could find him manning the No. 2 spot in an offense at split end over the next couple of seasons. He will carve out a role early on in the red zone and on go routes. Don’t expect to utilize him much in 2021, if at all, and it may take a couple of years before has routine lineup worthiness for those in dynasty formats.

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