The New York Giants’ plan became crystal clear once the announcement was made that they would be trading up to the first pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft on Friday.
Thirty-two picks went by on Thursday in the first round in Chicago. Former Alabama safety Landon Collins wasn’t among them, though he was projected by several draft analysts to be selected on Day One.
It didn’t take long for his name to be called on Day Two.
After two seasons as a starter for Alabama, Collins will continue his football career in New York after being selected No. 33 overall.
“I’m going to be very productive,” Collins told John Schmeelk on Big Blue Draft Night Live. “I’m a full, all-around safety. When I touch the field, I will showcase everything that I have.”
Collins was a standout at strong safety for the Crimson Tide, recording 173 tackles over the past two seasons, including 103 during his junior campaign in 2014. He also had five interceptions and three forced fumbles during that span.
“He plays every game with his best effort,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said following Collins’ selection. “The best in-the-box safety in the country. I think he’s a dime linebacker.”
The Dutchtown High School alum and New Orleans native chose Alabama over LSU following the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game, to the displeasure of his mother, April Justin. He eventually developed into a 2014 All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection under Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.
“When you’re a defensive back for Nick Saban, you’re well-coached,” Mayock said.
The 6-foot, 228-pound Collins was a force both in the secondary and near the line of scrimmage for the Crimson Tide, making 4.5 tackles for loss in 2014.
“He finishes in the run game, he finishes in the pass game, and he’s got a little more range than people think,” Mayock said.
Collins will look to bolster a New York secondary that allowed 240.6 passing yards per game and picked off 17 passes last season.
The opportunity to be a starter in week one could be there for Collins, considering the Giants’ current situation at the safety position. At the moment, Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe sit on top of New York’s depth chart at safety, meaning Collins will likely begin fighting for the job the second training camp begins later this summer.
He will also help improve a Giants run defense that finished No. 30 in the NFL last season in rushing yards per game allowed (135.1).
“I told them when we had our first conversation that I’m going to be an accountable player,” Collins told Schmeelk. “That’s what I’ve been coached to be, and that’s what I trained to be. … When (the Giants selected me), it just gave me that confidence that they have a great player with the right head on his shoulders who is ready to come in and play.”