"“No, not at all,” said Collins regarding any potential Colts pre-draft interest on Friday. “I didn’t get any interest at all that they were going to draft me.”Even when asked again by JMV if there was limited interest: “No sir,” added Collins. “Not at all.”"
Of course, much to the dismay of their fans, the Colts opted to select wide receiver Phillip Dorsett instead with the 29th overall pick, while Collins was swept up by the Giants just four picks later in the early second round–despite Indianapolis having numerous holes on defense and along the offensive line.
While Dorsett underwent an underwhelming second year season, Collins had a breakout campaign, as the 23 year old safety made 125 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and 5 interceptions in 6 starts–en route to being named a 1st-Team All-Pro, NFC Defensive Player of the Year, and a Pro Bowler.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Collins was rated as the league’s 2nd best safety overall with a +91.7 grade overall.
After such an impressive season, Collins is a serious Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
That being said–before ‘dancing on former general manager Ryan Grigson‘s grave’, it’s fair to point out that just because a team didn’t express interest in a prospect prior to the NFL Draft doesn’t mean that the team actually wasn’t interested at all.
Likewise, just because a team expresses interest, it also means that the scouting department could simply be performing their due diligence for background work or sending out a ‘smokescreen’ for other teams.
We probably will never know for sure whether the Colts were actually interested in Collins to a degree, but what we do know is that at one point, Grigson said the young safety ‘can do it all‘ when he was evaluating that year’s safety class–as well as the position’s evolution as a whole:
"Jan 29, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC strong safety Landon Collins of the New York Giants (21) at the 2017 Pro Bowl at Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports“The safety position is tricky to me at least,” said Grigson heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. “Maybe to others, not so much, maybe it’s clearer to others, but there’s a trend for the not-so-traditional safety anymore. It’s more of a free safety type, that has cover ability, has that corner background, but a guy like Landon can do it all. You know, there’s only so many of those guys in the draft. There’s really not many.”"
That could’ve been a smokescreen by the Colts in itself.
We also know that at the end of the day, Grigson and his scouting department valued Dorsett–with T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief already in the fold, more than Collins despite having so many defensive holes on the other side of the football.
Right now, it’s too early to call Dorsett a bust yet–who’s set to enter his third season, but at the same time, Collins has all the makings of a star safety for years to come.
The sad thing is, it could’ve been with the Colts.
Serious interest ahead of time or not.