Suspended Jalen Collins needed Falcons more than they needed him

Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins reacts to recovering a fumble by Packers fullback Aaron Rodger during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game last Jan. 22 in the Georgia Dome. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Jalen Collins was a mistake.

He may be a great athlete, a potential NFL starter and a good guy who for some reason just keeps doing reckless things. But barring an unlikely chain of events that would include him actually playing another game for the Falcons, his legacy with the team will be that of a draft mistake – the only draft mistake the team has made since the hiring of Dan Quinn in 2015.

Drug suspensions in consecutive training camps? Not a stat that should be on anybody’s resume.

The first Quinn/Thomas Dimitroff draft has had remarkable success. The seven-member class: edge rusher Vic Beasley (first round), Collins (second), running back Tevin Coleman (third), wide receiver Justin Hardy (fourth), defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (fifth), tackle Jake Rodgers (seventh) and defensive back Akeem King (seventh). Rodgers is the only one not on the current roster.

Collins played 11 games last year, including three in the playoffs. He had a forced fumble and recovery in the NFC championship game that ignited the victory over Green Bay.

“He made the play that got it started,” Dwight Freeney said.

If the Falcons don’t make it back to the Super Bowl, it won’t be because Collins did something stupid and got popped for PEDs for the second time, thereby earning a 10-game suspension. While there’s no question that losing him cuts into the Falcons’ secondary depth, as much as the team might want to minimize his loss, they can survive Collins’ loss. They have a solid starting secondary (Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen) and strong second and third/tiers (including Brian Poole, C.J. Goodwin, Damontae Kazee and Deji Olatoye).

But Collins’ future is less certain. He needed the Falcons more than they needed him.

The fact he was the 42nd player overall drafted despite multiple failed drug tests at LSU speaks to his potential as a player. (Among those taken later in the second round: Missouri defensive end Markus Golden, who already has 16½ sacks for Arizona.)

NFL teams don’t draft players with red flags unless that guy can play. But Collins either hasn’t grown up yet or he hasn’t realized the seriousness of the situation. Maybe unemployment would change that. Maybe not. But if he plays another game for the Falcons, I would be surprised.

(UPDATE: Collins is allowed to be in training camp and participate in exhibition games but will be suspended when the regular season begins.)

(UPDATE 2: Collins spoke to media today. Here’s a link Darryl Ledbetter’s story. Here’s an excerpt of Collins’ comments: “So, I addressed the team and talked to DQ (Dan Quinn). Everybody knows what’s going on. I know I let a lot of people down. Everybody is really disappointed, including myself. This is something that I’ve been struggling with. I’m working on it, to put behind me and I’m ready to move forward.”

Previously on Jalen Collins

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Reader Comments 0

15 comments
candlin14
candlin14

I do not understand the thought process of just "cutting him" from the team. The head coach and GM spent a 2nd round pick on this guy. You certainly do not drop your investment (even if it was a bad one) this early. 


I dont care what anybody says, smoking weed or taking a supplement is far less troubling then putting your hands on a woman or for that matter, completely knocking a woman out. 


One man (Ray Rice) has seen the repercussions from his awful actions but the RB from OU who is now a Bengal can play ALL 16 GAMES!!! WTF kind of since does that make? Another player who has had multiple allegations of DV is Ezekial Elliott. IF he does not get suspended for 4 games, then there is something clearly flawed in the NFL decision making process for punishments.


flafalcon
flafalcon

Does the league consider weed a PED?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Is he taking steroids or just smoking weed?

Eric_C
Eric_C

"Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins reacts to recovering a fumble by Packers fullback Aaron RODGER"

That dude did just about everything for the Packers

TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

Come on Paige. We know how you make money!!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

He doesn't deserve another chance with the Falcons. Drop him!!! Another team will gladly pick up the problem.

Infinite Hope
Infinite Hope

They knew he was a gamble and they invested in him anyway.  Therefore, I don't think they'll cut him just yet. The Brotherhood has a lot of work to do with Jalen, but it's his last chance (he better not even breathe wrong for the next two years).  

Steven Fayette
Steven Fayette

He has not grown up and the fact that he failed drug test twice in LSU speaks volume about himself. DQ and TD better put him on notice. If he can't confront and tackle his issue with the Falcons, he can't do it anywhere else. 

atlanta spirit
atlanta spirit

Why not keep him around if he is not being paid. Then you have guaranteed depth late in the season.  Does this free up money for a free agent at another position like OL?  Does it free up a roster space?

GT71
GT71

Keep the ne'er-do-well.  He's not that much different than all the others.  He's just still a bit stupid not knowing, yet, how to keep the behavior while fooling the authorities.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

The AJC would be fine without Schultz but they keep the loser around.

UnbiasedObserver
UnbiasedObserver

Says plenty about the Falcons if they keep this guy around...

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Seems like we will keep Collins around for now. After the 10 games, Falcon may re-evaluate their secondary. Collins has enough to talent to consider a third chance if we are in need of secondary help.