Jags listed as best fit for free agent safety Landon Collins

With free agency and the draft behind us, the key acquisition periods for the NFL have been over for some time now, but that doesn’t mean teams still can’t land key contributors. There are still some notable free agents on the market who could help a team, and that’s especially the case for a team like the Jags, who had the worst record in the NFL last season.

When looking at how the offseason went, the Jags’ defense came out of it with the most upgrades. They started things in free agency by landing a starter in linebacker Foyesade Oluokun and a probable starter in defensive lineman Folorusu Fatukasi. They also landed a player who will be a big-time contributor in the secondary in cornerback Darious Williams, who could be the team’s starting nickelback.

Then in the draft, the team spent five of its seven picks on defense. Their first two picks were linebackers Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd, then in the third round, they added another linebacker in Chad Muma. Then with their last two draft picks, they added depth to the secondary with the addition of cornerbacks Gregory Junior and Montaric Brown.

However, despite those additions, ESPN’s Matt Bowen feels they still could use another pickup on defense. In a recent post where he looked at the top-10 remaining free agents in the NFL, he slotted safety Landon Collins, who was ranked as the fourth-best free agent on his list, to the Jags.

Here is what Bowen had to say about why the former second-round pick would be a fit for the Jags:

Best fit: Jacksonville Jaguars

I view Collins as a scheme-specific safety at this stage of his career. He can run the alley in Quarters or spin down as a sub-package hybrid defender to generate disruption near the line of scrimmage. That’s why I’m looking at Jacksonville under new defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, who joins the Jags after working with Todd Bowles and the Bucs in 2021.

Look at how safety Jordan Whitehead was deployed in Tampa Bay last season. Collins has the top-down juice and the physical traits to play underneath in a similar role. And Collins, who had three sacks in Washington last season, can also be schemed as a blitzer. Adding a veteran player like Collins-who has 11 career interceptions-creates much-needed competition for a Jaguars team trying to establish a new defensive identity.

When looking at it from a schematic standpoint, Bowen may be on to something. Additionally, Collins is a player who Doug Pederson is very familiar with as he watched him play for both the New York Giants and Washington as a former NFC East coach.

Something else worth mentioning is that Collins proved to be a superb run defender last season, and according to Pro Football Focus, he accumulated an 82.5 in that category. That’s an area where the Jags struggled mightily last season and ranked 23rd. He also registered a 74.0 pass-rush grade, which somewhat aligns with what Bowen said about Collins’ ability to blitz.

However, it seems the Jags are set at their two safety positions. It seems like last year’s third-round pick, Andre Cisco, should be well on his way to returning to the starting lineup as he’s already impressed Pederson and Co. Then starting next to him should be veteran Rayshawn Jenkins, who the Jags handed out a starting-caliber contract to last offseason.

All of that said, it feels like the Jags would have to not like what they have in Cisco and Jenkins. The former has already been praised, though the pads aren’t on yet, and the latter player seems to be well-respected by the organization.

For the aforementioned reasons, it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Jags sign Collins for now. However, if an unfortunate injury happened on the back end of the secondary, he seems like he’d be a great option to get on the phone.

Leave a Comment