The Atlanta Falcons generally like to avoid players with character flaws. Inasmuch as they can, the front office tries to screen players, almost to a fault. But Jalen Collins was an exception. When the Falcons took Collins with the 42nd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they knew they were taking a project player. From a maturity standpoint, he was going to need some seasoning. And notwithstanding his immense natural talent, his technique needed some work as well.
Collins ultimately had what can fairly be described as a disappointing rookie campaign. His play was simply unremarkable. That said, the Falcons were depending on him heading into this season. (Collins figures to get considerable snaps as the Falcons third cornerback.) But now, because of his decision to take PEDs, the Falcons will be exceptionally thin at cornerback over the first quarter of the season. For what it's worth, it appears Collins has a healthy attitude about the situation.
"It was just a mistake, ya know, dealing with some stuff last year, didn't handle it the best I could and paying for it now. Just being young and trying to do things my own way. And not relying on the support I have here, my teammates and my coaches ... I've had to do a lot of different things this past off-season. Rebuilding some relationships with coaches. It's kinda shifted my perspective on things. Kinda got my head in a good place right now."
This is a pivotal moment for Collins. The pressure to perform at the next level can obviously be overwhelming, but there's a right way to do things and wrong way to do things. Collins chose the latter and now he's paying for it.