The Patriots are known for bringing back old friends. In the past, they did it with guys like Otis Smith and Deion Branch. They did it with Pat Chung a few years back, Now this year they not only brought back Ben Watson, but now they brought back Jamie Collins as well. The linebacker position is a bit crowded, so where does Collins fit in on this defense?
Collins is and always has been a freakishly athletic linebacker. He can fly sideline to sideline, and he’s big enough to lay the boom down on some big backs. He ended up leading the Browns in tackles last season with 104. He also managed 4 sacks along with that. They have 2 clear cut starters in Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. The Middle Linebacker position could be in question. Elandon Roberts is not a good pass coverage guy but stops the run as good as anyone in the game. Ja’Whaun Bentley showed a ton of promise last year, but he is coming back off a full season injury and it is unclear if he will bounce back the same. That could be his best opportunity for becoming a full-time starter.
There is a good chance that Collins starts to pair with Pat Chung on passing downs to cover faster running backs and tight ends. We all know Hightower struggles a lot in coverage, and Van Noy is decent but also can be better used as a pass rusher. Collins could also fit in as great insurance with Hightower’s injury history.
This might not be a big comeback year for Collins, but he might still have a future here. Van Noy’s contract ends at the end of the season. He has been everything the Pats had hoped Collins would have been, but that could make for a big payday for him. Van Noy might leave in free agency, leaving a gaping hole for Jamie Collins to fill in 2020.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)