J.R. Collins was a reliable performer over his four years as a Hokie, earning All-ACC Honorable Mention in both 2011 and 2013. He suffered through an injury-plagued 2012 where he only started eight games, but returned strong as the Hokies made strides and improved on their worst campaign since 1992.
Collins finished his career with 17.5 sacks including three very consistent seasons right at five or six. He was regularly in the backfield, and had 78 total QB hurries to reflect that. One negative aspect about J.R.'s numbers: They always declined during conference play. This is understandable with a usual diet of three winnable early non-conference games each year, but I'm sure scouts noted his tendency to get shut down at times by bigger, more NFL ready competition he was facing in ACC play.
Not hearing his name called on draft day was no surprise. Like James Gayle (UDFA Tennessee Titans), Collins played light and fast. But where Gayle has more prototypical height for a pass-rusher at 6'4", Collins is only listed at 6'2" and might be a little shorter than that.
Curiously, NFL personnel were discussing Gayle's ability to drop back into coverage and learn the OLB spot in the 3-4, but nobody was suggesting this for Collins. It will be interesting to see what the Redskins plan to take a look at with J.R.
Currently at the OLB spots the Redskins are loaded with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. They picked up Darryl Sharpton in Free Agency to take over for London Fletcher, and they used their 2nd round pick (their first in this year's draft) on Stanford's Trent Murphy.
They didn't draft a Defensive End, nor did they pick one up as an undrafted Free Agent as you can see from the quote lift below:
"The list of players signed by Washington are Tulane nose tackle Chris Davenport, Southern University wide receiver Lee Doss, Brigham Young wide receiver Cody Hoffman, Indiana wide receiver Kofi Hughes, Northwestern wide receiver Rashad Lawrence, Texas El-Paso tight end Kevin Perry, Southern California running back Silas Redd, North Dakota State defensive back Bryan Shepherd and Arkansas nose tackle Robert Thomas" --Washington Post, May 14, 2014
The Redskins do have an excellent stable of defensive ends on deck though: Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Jason Hatcher (who can play inside as well), Kedric Golston, and Doug Worthington. Earning playing time would be a monumental task, but making the Practice Squad might be an attainable goal. Once there they can stash him two years.
Best of luck to J.R. in Washington. Ask for ALL the money, Snyder just might pay it! We'll be back with more player transaction news as it reveals itself. Have a great weekend!