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Giants’ Rookie Collins Looking to Knock Off “Box Safety” Label

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So just what kind of safety is Landon Collins? He would like to introduce into evidence a play he made against Florida last fall.

Alabama’s defensive call was “stubbie,” which called for Collins to line up as one of the two high safeties. When the ball was snapped, the receiver he had his eye on ran a shallow route, so Collins’ attention shifted to the slot guy, who burst off the line of scrimmage and past the cornerback. When the ball came out of Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel’s right hand, a deep pass targeted 30 yards downfield, Collins began to sprint—from inside the hash marks out to the painted numbers on the field.

“The distance, I would say, was maybe 30 yards,” Collins recalls, “and I broke on the ball and made it an incomplete pass. That play, I feel, showed my range as a safety.”

Collins, the Alabama safety the Giants traded up to select with the first pick of the second round, is entering the NFL with something very specific to prove. He first heard the “box safety” tag in the last weeks leading up to the draft, when a couple of teams mentioned it in interviews. That evaluation from some teams—that he lacked the coverage skills to challenge receivers at the NFL level—played a role in Collins, a national champion and the leader of the Crimson Tide secondary, not hearing his name called in the first round.

“It bothers me, because I know that I’m not a box safety. I can play in the box, but I’m not a box safety,” Collins says. “When I started hearing that, I told the teams, ‘You can look at the film. I’m not a box safety.’ ”

via Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB with Peter King


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