Nico Collins opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but he had the opportunity to boost his stock for the upcoming NFL Draft with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. Let’s just say he proved that he’s still one of the most intriguing wide receiver prospects that’ll be available in April.
Collins had a very impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Multiple draft analysts, such as Bucky Brooks and Mel Kiper, raved about his catch radius.
“What I like about Nico is he is an outstanding 50-50 ball winner,” Brooks said, via 247Sports. “If it is a jump ball or contested catch, he comes down with it. We have seen flashes of that and we have seen him use his size.”
Although there’s no film on Collins for this past season, the former Michigan wideout showed more than enough on tape in 2018 and 2019. He had 75 receptions for 1,361 yards and 13 touchdowns during that stretch.
With the NFL Draft less than three months away, we sat down with Nico Collins to discuss his experience at the Senior Bowl, his thoughts on Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan, and much more.
The Spun: You just wrapped up a long week at the Senior Bowl. What was that experience like considering it was your first time on the field in a while?
Nico Collins: It was great experience. I was honored to receive that invite from the Senior Bowl to go down there to Mobile to compete with some of the best college football players. It was a great week. I learned a lot and I got to play football for the first time in about a year. It felt great to compete for an entire week – I had fun.
Nico Collins goes high for the fade pic.twitter.com/rbTx5Kyig9
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 28, 2021
The Spun: You caught passes from Feleipe Franks, Sam Ehlinger and Ian Book throughout the week. Which quarterback impressed you the most?
NC: They all looked pretty nice and all had the same ball and timing. It’s hard to say which one stood out to me since all of them played well the entire week.
The Spun: Were there any NFL teams you met with that just the thought of playing for them excited you?
NC: Mostly all of them. Just being able to interview with the teams and talk to the coaches – I envision myself playing anywhere in the NFL, so I don’t mind where I play.
Overall good stuff here from #Michigan WR Nico Collins
— Jake Sirkus (@JakeSirkus) January 27, 2021
The Spun: What did you think was the biggest issue with Michigan’s offense this year?
NC: I would say it was just one of those years. I would say it was just a bad season. I know for sure they’re going to respond and feed off this past season going into next season. I already know the mindset after that season ended going into the winter cycle. I know the energy they’re going to bring next season is going to be ridiculous.
The Spun: What was your initial reaction to the Jim Harbaugh extension?
NC: If you think he’s not the right coach, you’re wrong. He’s a great coach. He’s a coach that played in the NFL, coached in the NFL, and knows exactly how to coach his players. If you want a great team to go to and a great coach to be coached by, go to the University of Michigan. It doesn’t get any better because of Coach Harbaugh. I learned a lot from him and I’m glad he was my coach for my first three years.
The Spun: What does Michigan need to do to get on Ohio State’s level?
NC: We just need to attack each game the same and finish better. Play all four quarters and make sure you get the job done.
The Spun: Donovan Peoples-Jones has been successful as a rookie. Did he give you any advice over the past few months?
NC: Yea, I’m really close with Donovan. We both came here together, so throughout the season we stayed in touch. We still text like we normally do, nothing changed between us. He’s been telling me that the NFL is different [from college football]. It’s a job and everyone here is on another level. So I’m just asking him questions and picking his brain whenever I can.
After a strong week at the Senior Bowl, Michigan's Nico Collins could emerge as a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. explains:https://t.co/bGRQeBYHyU pic.twitter.com/mkMAAkI9Yg
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 30, 2021
The Spun: Mel Kiper put you on his list for players who elevated their draft stock at the Senior Bowl. How do you feel about that?
NC: When I see stuff like that it just motivates me more to keep going and keep pushing. Nothing is going to change my mindset and make me think ‘that’s good enough.’ I’m not where I want to be yet, so I’m going to keep going and continue to work on my game.
The Spun: You get to catch a touchdown pass from one NFL quarterback – who are you picking?
NC: Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes. There are a couple of quarterbacks I’d love to catch a touchdown pass from, so that’s tough.
The Spun: This is a loaded WR class. What separates you from other wideouts?
NC: My size, catch radius, ability to go up and get the ball, and physicality.
Nico Collins hasn’t played in 2020 but will be in Mobile for the @seniorbowl.
I’m excited to see him perform because he’s a big, fast, & physical wideout. The talent at corner in Mobile will create some fun 1 on 1s reps. Us at the @CrockerReport can’t wait! #CRFB pic.twitter.com/YNjjPwaDfN
— Damian Parson 🏈 (@DP_NFL) December 29, 2020
As of right now, Kiper believes Collins should hear his name called early on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
“He has that power-forward mentality,” Kiper said. “I think Nico Collins could be a second-round draft choice come late April.”
What makes Collins such an interesting prospect is the fact that he can make explosive plays downfield with his 6-foot-4 frame. In a league that is quite fond of wide receivers who can make an impact in the vertical passing game, the Michigan product would be a nice fit in several offenses.
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