When the Seattle Seahawks drafted defensive end L.J. Collier out of Texas Christian University in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft many fans and observers were quick to label the selection a reach. Many noted that Collier was rated by many draft pundits as a Day 2 or potentially even Day 3 pick, but the Hawks front office has never appeared to be overly concerned about outside opinions.
In any case, in the wake of the of the selection it was lamented that he would not be able to fill the pass rushing void created by the trade of franchise tagged Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs. Labels such as “run stopper” and CBS Sports even opined that , “Collier isn’t a pure pass rusher but his strength allows him to set the edge in the run game.” This kind of assessment is not surprising, after Collier racked up only 14.5 sacks during his college career, while TCU teammate Ben Banogu recorded 17.0 sacks over the past two seasons.
But could Collier surprise some with his rushing abilities? According to ProFootballFocus.com, that could be the case, as their stats had Collier creating pressure more often than any other edge rusher in the Big XII when rushing the passer.
Jordan Brailford had to wait awhile to hear his name called – but the Redskins nabbed him in the seventh round after he averaged a pressure every 9.1 pass-rushes last season at Oklahoma State pic.twitter.com/o80lSF3vJV
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 29, 2019
In short, while many experts and fans alike were quick to complain about the selection and argue that Collier wouldn’t be able to address the gaping hole left in the Seahawks pass rush when Clark was traded, is it possible that Collier will surprise? For Hawks fans, hopefully that’s the case, and hopefully without proven edge rushers in front of him, he gets a better chance to show what he can do during his rookie season than some other recent selections who play on the defensive line have been given.