*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*WR-B stands for "Big-WR," a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy-red-zone-threat-type WRs. Our WR-S/"Small-WRs" are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession-type WRs who are typically less physical and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep...they are not used as weapons in the red zone as much. 


In our ongoing search for the top or ‘best’ WR prospect of the 2021 NFL Draft class, let’s welcome Nico Collins into the discussion.

Right now/so far, our ‘best in class’ contenders are (in no particular order): Rondale Moore, D’Wayne Eskridge, DeVonta Smith…and then a drop-off from there.  But let’s add Collins to the Moore-Eskridge-Smith class.

It’s not easy to pick a ‘best’ of the best here among these four because they all have different gifts and styles they bring to the table. Where Collins enters the fray is – he is the best ‘big guy’ WR prospect in the class (so far). Collins is the more traditional, plus-sized WR prospect the NFL usually gravitates towards. Eskridge and DeVonta will have to be in a particular system, preferably on home dome turf to really thrive, but Rondale Moore and Nico Collins are going to succeed in any system or climate…they’re just built differently/play two completely different styles.

If I were to summarize Nico Collins’ NFL Draft scouting, in my studies, it would be: Collins should sue Jim Harbaugh for career malpractice…for his offense holding back Collins from a bigger platform or awareness, and thus losing better draft stock/rookie contract money. It really should be a legal claim against Michigan/Harbaugh. *And Donovan Peoples-Jones should sign on to this class action lawsuit as well.

After just a few game tapes of Collins, I just stopped watching. I couldn’t take watching another play where Collins would immediately break open and the always-limited Michigan QB (wouldn’t matter who, but usually awful Shea Patterson) would not even look in Collins’ direction, or the QB would immediately be running for his life, or (most likely) it was a dull/useless run play. None of which helped Collins at all.

Side note – if you are a Michigan fan…why? I never watch college football in season, always tape crunching after the NFL season. As I am coming up to speed on CFB 2020, I’ve watched Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense and Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan offense in the past few days – and there is no comparison. Ole Miss is fresh and clever and interesting to watch…and Michigan looks like it’s the early 1900s with leather helmets and no facemask by comparison. How did Jim Harbaugh ever succeed at Stanford or with the 49ers? I’ll never know. Whatever he had, he didn’t bring it to Michigan. Harbaugh is to football coaching in Michigan as the current Michigan governor is to state governing. I would NEVER let my fictitious D1 offensive weapon son go play for Jim Harbaugh in the 2020s. What a joke.

And with that backdrop we get to the Nico Collins scouting…

You can’t really tell how good Collins is/could be from his Michigan tape because his targets/opportunities are so limited by the coach and QB, not the talent of the WR. Collins was SOOOO smart to opt-out of 2020…it would’ve been another wasted season and putting himself at injury risk for more dull nonsense of a season with Harbaugh.

Within the game tape in 2018 and 2019, you can see flashes of Collins’s potential greatness – fast feet off the snap, especially for the grown-man-size of 6’4”/215. His movements are so fluid for his size that it puts him in the discussion for the single best WR in this class. Unfortunately, Collins used his great movement skills to get open constantly…and his QB wasn’t even seeing it happen, nor could he throw it to him successfully all that much when he did. We don’t have as much tape to drink in of him getting great targets/work.

The gift that really shines for Collins on tape – he uses his big body so well to manipulate coverage. He can go up over the top of DBs for incoming throws with the best of them…a great high point, tight window catcher. But he also does a great job cutting inside and putting a DB behind him, shielding/boxing a DB out and thus Collins presents himself wide open (big catch radius to throw to) for easy short-medium throws as well.

Collins is not just a big guy who exercises his will via size advantage – Collins is very fast in the open field, surprisingly fast sprinting downfield on a deep route or just being elusive after the catch.

So, we have plus size…great feet…good+ hands…athleticism…and great, natural technique. What we don’t have is ‘dominant numbers’, but again…’Harbaugh’.

My ‘Harbaugh’ as a WR prospect crusher theory gets some backup in the form of the 2021 Senior Bowl. Collins went down to Mobile and was arguably the best WR there. All week I saw Collins just get open, make catches…and physically dominate, doing so with such a smooth style/glide it seemed effortless.

In my 2020 and 2021 quick previews, I first thought Collins was just an underwhelming deep ball/high point big guy. At the 2021 Senior Bowl, my eyes were opened to the fact that maybe Collins was screwed by his surroundings in college…so I for sure needed to study deeper. Upon my deeper look, I boarded the train…I believe in Collins as an all-around, legit NFL WR prospect who might wind up our top-rated 2021 WR prospect by Draft day.

Off the field. Collins is clean – smart young man, handles himself fine. A team first, willing to block a lot, loyal to the coach guy. Collins had Alabama and Georgia scholarship offers…he chose Harbaugh because he believed in Harbaugh (so maybe Collins is not as smart as I thought). The Alabama native turned down Nick Saban to work with Harbaugh – that’s either a test of character, or a sign of poor judgment…you decide.

Regardless of whatever you think of Collins’ decision to go to Michigan – he’s a great NFL WR prospect.


Nico Collins, Through the Lens of Our WR Scouting Algorithm:

It’s hard to assess any trends or performance metrics on Collins, for all the reasons I’ve already bellyached about. But here are a few notes…

 -- Two bowl games (v. FLA and ALA): 4.5 rec., 64.0 yards, 0.0 TDs per game. Not shut down by the defense…muted by the QB/offense. Collins was open plenty.

 -- Two career Ohio State matchups: 3.0 rec., 61.5 yards, 1.0 TDs per game

 -- 10 TDs in his final 16 college games.

 -- Only one 100+ yard game in his career (6-165-3 vs. Indiana in 2019).

Senior Bowl measurements: 6’4.2”/215, 9.38” hands, 32.5” arms, 79.0 wingspan

Pro Day Projections: 4.50 +/- 40-time, my bet is 4.4s. 7.0 +/- three-cone. 38”+ vertical

The Historical WR Prospects to Whom Nico Collins Most Compares Within Our System:

Collins will need to add 5 pounds of muscle to grow into some of these comps, and we project (with his body type) that he’ll be able to. Andre Johnson and Alshon Jeffrey jump out at me as comps that just feel right. 


WR Score

Draft Yr







Power Strngth Metric

Speed Agility Metric

Hands' Metric














Pittman Jr.













Miami, Fla






















South Carolina


















*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Big-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of a Big-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Big-WR.

All of the WR ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, and rated historically in our database.

“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical size profiling, bench press strength, etc.  High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.

“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/to create separation.

“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance. Everything combining to project catch-abilities for the next level.

2021 NFL Draft Outlook:

The fact that he didn’t have sexy college output or play in a sexy offense, plus sat out 2020 season is all being held against him in media/analyst perception. I see him with 3rd/4th-round grades mostly and is one of the 50+ WRs who will get the ‘sleeper/’watch out for this guy’ labels so the media is covering their behinds. In the end, I think Collins goes top 50/somewhere in the 2nd-round. He’s too good, too unique not to. 

If I were an NFL GM, I’d have to stop and think about the deal/bargain that could be coming here. I might be able to get the most uniquely built, big guy weapon in the 2021 NFL Draft for a 2nd or even 3rd-round price…all because he didn’t play for a sexy college offense (like what happened with Courtland Sutton, Chase Claypool, Bryan Edwards, etc.). there might not be anyone else like him in this draft and I could pay 2nd+ round money for it – I’m definitely on the prowl here. 

NFL Outlook:   

Is going to be an NFL starter, quickly. How fast and how good his output will be – all depends upon landing spot. 

…if he ends up with pro coach/Ravens John Harbaugh…he’ll be screwed again. And with Jim’s advanced info, you know John will be after Nico. What a shame, if that happens.