The Atlanta Falcons shocked their fans when they picked Jalen Collins in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. It wasn't a lack of talent. Under different circumstances (i.e., if he had more than 10 starts at LSU and didn't
smoke so much pot in college have "character" concerns), Collins might've been a first rounder. And remember, leading up to the draft, Mike Mayock said he had "as much talent as any cornerback in the draft." But to see the Falcons use the 43rd pick in the draft on a guy they'd normally avoid in the post-Michael Vick era, it was ... different.
2015 wasn't particularly kind to Collins. His growing pains were on full display, but the coaching staff was patient with him, knowing he'd need to navigate a learning curve. For what it's worth, Collins wasn't happy with his play this season. Per ESPN's Vaughn McClure, he's determined to get better.
"Of course you're frustrated," Collins said of his rookie campaign. "I felt I could have done better. I really didn't play to the best of my ability throughout the whole season. Definitely a little frustrated, but I know it's a process. I'm just going to grind this offseason."
Collins just has to put in the work. It may seem like an oversimplification, but there's no substitute for experience when playing cornerback in the NFL. For right now, he's saying all the right things. (Although, to be frank, who doesn't say something like this after a disappointing campaign?)