The New England Patriots have worked to improve their team through free agency this offseason. Time will tell if all of the moves end up working out for the Patriots, but it seems the organization recognizes the window is closing on QB Tom Brady and they need to try to win now. The Patriots added two cornerbacks by signing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. They also re-signed WR Julian Edelman and signed WR Brandon LaFell as they appear to be going after quantity instead of quantity. The Patriots need to draft a true No. 1 receiver for Brady to throw to.
Let’s leave free agency for a second and instead focus on the player who could make the biggest jump from year one to year two for the Patriots. The Patriots need a WR to step up, so hopefully Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce or Kenbrell Thompkins make huge strides in 2014. They have all shown the ability to produce at times, but more than likely another player heading into his second season with the Patriots will make the biggest jump — Jamie Collins
Collins is a 6-foot-3, 250-pound LB out of the University of Southern Mississippi and is heading into his second season with the Patriots. In his first season Collins played in all 16 games and started half of them. Many Patriots and football fans did not know who Collins was at the beginning of the 2013 season, but due to the injury bug biting the Patriots hard, Collins got his chance to show what he can do towards the end of the 2013 season. With Mr. four years a slave in Foxboro Brandon Spikes now playing for the Buffalo Bills, either Dont’a Hightower or Jerod Mayo will probably assume the middle linebacker responsibilities. If that’s the case, look for Collins to solidify his spot at one of the two outside linebacker positions.
Why should Collins be confident heading into 2014? He now has a full NFL season under his belt. He is healthy so he will have had a full offseason to work out, and he is one of the more athletic and versatile guys on the Patriots defense. In addition, there is almost no depth behind Collins at linebacker. It has to be Collins’ job to lose, right?
Collins has the size to stop the run and the speed to be effective as a pass rusher (which the Patriots sorely need). He can also drop into coverage if needed, say to cover a tight end one-on-one, and he showed good instincts in 2013.
You never know for sure, but it is highly likely Collins has a big season in 2014.