The Seattle Seahawks have selected Arkansas running back Alex Collins with their fifth round pick, 171st overall in the NFL Draft.
Collins is a tough, physical, and elusive back. He did not test well from an athleticism standpoint but in many ways he reminds me of a former Seahawks pick in Spencer Ware. Just a tough, between the tackles runner. He'll be the thunder of this draft class if C.J. Prosise is the lightning. The Seahawks have an identity and they're sticking to it. This reminds of 2013, when Seattle drafted Christine Michael and Spencer Ware in the 2nd/6th even though Marshawn Lynch was still in his prime. Can never have enough tough, physical runners.
Here's a scouting report on Collins from NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.
STRENGTHS Well-built, durable frame with feet from a windup toy. Plays with amazingly consistent and repetitive tempo as a runner. Able to weave in, out and around traffic without breaking his speed or tempo. Has foot quickness and agility to avoid the backfield traffic and the instant acceleration to get the run back underway. Patient and probing while waiting for a crease. Pad level and knee bend are outstanding. Keeps shoulders square to the line and stays low and tight through the hole. Excellent vision on the interior and consistently jukes and sidesteps tackle attempts to create additional yardage. Touchdown hog. Plated 32 rushing touchdowns over last three years. Runs with consistent forward lean and always falls forward.
WEAKNESSES One speed runner. Doesn't play with natural one-cut stride length and everything comes off stutter-stepping, choppy strides. Feel for outside runs is off. Breaks runs back inside prematurely that still have life along their original track. Can't generate enough momentum through contact acceleration to be a tackle breaker. Credited with just five broken tackles over his last 475 carries. Unproven as pass catcher and inconsistent in squaring up his pass protection responsibilities. Has 17 career fumbles with nine lost.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 3 or 4
SOURCES TELL US "Last year I thought Jonathan Williams was the better back, but Collins changed my mind this year. He's not special but he's solid. I think he's probably a third-rounder." -- SEC area scout
NFL COMPARISON Chris Ivory
BOTTOM LINE Collins is the epitome of consistency rushing for over 1,000 yards and at least 5.4 yards per carry in each of his three seasons. Vision and footwork are the catalysts for his elusiveness and he has flashed long speed. Collins is a repetitive runner lacking dynamic talent, but he's run in gap, power and zone schemes and should be a scheme fit for most teams looking at running back. Collins should be able to step right in and challenge for carries and red zone work immediately.
Here's what scouts at NFLDraftScout.com had to say.
STRENGTHS: Solidly built and runs stronger than he is due to determination. Hungry runner and doesn't waste time getting north-south. Won't avoid contact and barrels into tacklers, driving his legs to finish. Quick, decisive cuts, showing patience and burst.
Resets his vision well on the move to pick his way through the heart of a defense. Quickly reaches his top speed, accelerating well at the second level to take it the distance.
Reliable as a pass-catcher and more than just a screen target, working hard to adjust his route and give his quarterback an open target. Usually does just enough in pass protection with vision and toughness to read pressures and give up his body.
Developed into a team-leader and takes well to coaching. Highly productive as both a complementary and feature back, averaging 5.7 yards rushing over his career with 36 rushing touchdowns in 14 starts - 17 career 100-yard performances. Leaves Arkansas No. 2 on the school's all-time rushing yards list, behind only Darren McFadden.
WEAKNESSES: Will lower his pads to finish, but tends to run tall at times. Needs to do a better job at initial contact to keep his feet and break more tackles. Doesn't have explosive twitch to immediately separate from defenders in pursuit - can be caught from behind.
Average decision-making and tends to think too much, making one too many moves at times or not enough on other runs. Needs to improve his technique in pass protection and square to his target instead of launching his shoulder.
Ball security is a concern, always fighting for more yardage, but not always covering up consistently - 16 career fumbles (called out by Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema midway through the 2015 season due to his fumbling issues).
IN OUR VIEW: Collins was an ideal fit for Bielema's blueprint on offense with his light feet to make sharp cuts, but also his physical nature to welcome contact, finish forward and do most of his damage between the tackles. Collins is a physical runner, but needs to improve his pad level and ball security to be more reliable at the next level.
Although he won't consistently create on his own, Collins has an excellent blend of quickness, patience and power to get what is blocked for him and contribute as an NFL rookie.
Here's some tape:
The Seahawks have 9 selections total in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 26 (31): Germain Ifedi, OL Texas A&M
Round 2, Pick 18 (49): Jarran Reed, DL Alabama
Round 3, Pick 27 (90): C.J. Prosise, RB Notre Dame
Round 3, Pick 31 (94): Nick Vannett, TE Ohio State
Round 3, Pick 35 (97) (Comp pick): Rees Odhiambo, OL Boise State
Round 5, Pick 8 (147) (From Patriots): Quinton Jefferson, DL Maryland
Round 5, Pick 34 (171) (Comp pick): Alex Collins, RB Arkansas
Round 6, Pick 40 (215) (Comp pick):
Round 7, Pick 4 (243) (From Patriots):
Round 7, Pick 26 (247):