With the No. 52 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the New England Patriots selected Southern Miss linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins checks in at No. 33 on SB Nation's top 200 big board and is the fifth-ranked outside linebacker.
Collins was a combine star, showing off his athleticism in the positional drills and running a blazing 40-yard dash time. Collins piled up 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his senior season at Southern Miss, earning first team All-Conference USA in the process. Originally committed to Auburn out of high school, Collins instead enjoyed a successful career with the Golden Eagles and follows in the path of other successful linebackers from his school.
This was the first pick of the draft for the Patriots, who traded out of the first round. Instead of addressing what some may have considered a position of need, New England took the best player available in Collins. With Dont'a Hightower already lined up at outside linebacker, the Patriots can afford to slowly work Collins in and get him experience before thrusting him into a starting role.
In NFL.com's prospect profile on Collins, here is the conclusion they came to.
A tall lean end/linebacker hybrid for Southern Miss, Collins racked up 20 tackles for loss (and 10 sacks) for the Golden Eagles during his first-team All-Conference USA senior season. Though he's not an elite pass rush talent and is still growing into his frame, he presents scouts with surprising agility for his size and the length to be an effective 3-4 ‘backer capable of doing a bit of everything, with untapped potential as a mid-round pick.
Few linebackers were as impressive in the pre-draft process as Collins, who ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash to go with his impressive numbers on the vertical and broad jumps. The numbers only solidified what Collins showed on the field, though, as he was a dangerous edge rusher for Southern Miss throughout his career.