NAME: L.J. Collier
CONFERENCE: Big 12
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 91
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 276 lbs
Burst – Non-explosive edge rusher with very little burst and unimpressive stride length up the arc. Slow starter and false steps are frequent. Doesn’t show great snap anticipation and won’t beat anyone with speed to the corner.
Bend – Lacks the flexibility to turn the corner through contact. Has some flexibility in his ankles to tilt the edge, but needs a favorable path to the quarterback to make it work. With his size and lack of edge rushing traits, a transition to the inside as a nickel rusher seems likely.
Rush Moves – Loves the push-pull and the two-hand swipe. Not really powerful enough to create a ton of movement as a speed-to-power rusher on a regular basis, often losing his balance and ending up on the ground. Does have flashes of bull rush ability that would be enticing with better body control. Wish he deployed the long arm to keep himself cleaner, not the biggest or longest edge and will get body-to-body to often as a rusher.
Counters – I’ll give the dude this, he plays frenetically and sometimes that works in his favor and he gets free. Movements aren’t always super well-thought out, and can get dumped as a result. Physicality and energy are better than nothing though.
Run Defense – Asked to do a lot in TCU’s defense, including shoot interior gaps, 2-gap and drop into coverage and play in space. As a point-of-attack run defender he does well enough, but does get overwhelmed by doubles at times. Not much range or penetration ability to speak of. Needs to consistently maintain good depth to the line of scrimmage.
Lateral Mobility – Limited overall athlete with average change-of-direction and mobility in space. Despite TCU asking him to play in space, can’t see that role working for him in the NFL.
Mental Processing/Vision – When Collier saw a sloppy pass set, he smelled blood. Knew what to do in unblocked situations and performed a variety of assignments without many mental errors.
Tackling/Finishing – There are clear limitations in space and when asked to move laterally and make stops, but overall did not notice many issues as a tackler. Seemed to finish fine in a condensed space.
Competitive Toughness – Ultra-physical and competitive. Backs down from no one and plays hard every snap. In the games that I watched, did not seem like he was an every-down player and was frequently subbed out. Something to watch for when projecting more usage in the NFL.
Athleticism/Size – Stocky build with enough strength to hold his own at the next level, but lacks ideal length and the athletic tools to project to a high ceiling in the NFL.
BEST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness
WORST TRAIT – Burst/Bend
RED FLAGS – None
Collier is a hard-nosed end who played some anchor, stood up as a force defender, dropped into coverage and even saw the occasional inside pass rush rep for Texas Christian. He did it all as a rotational player, yet still managed 11.5 TFL and six sacks this season, albeit good chunks of that coming in two games. Collier simply doesn’t have the desirable athletic traits and pass rush ability to be a preferable starter on the edge, and I don’t see him holding up as an every-down interior player even if he does hit 280 on the scale. Best bet? Become a masterful technician and get time as an interior nickel rusher in the NFL.