2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Michigan WR Nico Collins

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

Earlier this year, at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, several future NFL stars stood out. However, as we’ll explain in this scouting report, one 2021 NFL Draft prospect, Michigan’s Nico Collins, consistently made plays throughout the week. More importantly, Collins earned high praise from NFL decision-makers for his ability to make plays and create separation as a wide receiver.

In this scouting report, we’ll breakdown what makes Nico Collins a special NFL Draft prospect. We’ll examine his collegiate career, even going all the way back to when he was a high school recruit. Next, we’ll turn on the game film and look at the good, and the bad, from his tape. Finally, we’ll release some pros and cons from our scouting report before predicting his draft stock and future as an NFL wide receiver.

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Coming out of Clay-Chalkville High School in Pinson, Alabama, Nico Collins was a consensus four-star recruiting prospect. All three major recruiting website had Collins listed in their top 150 overall. Furthermore, he was also a consensus top 25 at the wide receiver position. Prior to his commitment to the University of Michigan, Nico Collins had offers from Alabama, Florida State, and LSU.

As a freshman in 2017, Nico Collins appeared in four games, including one start. However, he only finished with three receptions for 27 yards,

Collins had a more prominent role in the Wolverines offense in 2018, racking up 38 receptions for 632 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

In 2019, Collins caught 37 passes for 729 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. In fact, Collins improved his yards per reception average every season at Michigan, eventually ending 2019 with a 19.7 average.

Nico Collins opted out of the 2020 football season after the Big Ten Conference postponed their season. When the Conference announced that the season would resume in October, Collins did not opt back in.


What I Like About Nico Collins

As with all of our scouting reports, we like to embed game film clips to best illustrate what we are seeing on tape. Below, you’ll find three clips that highlight the positives for Nico Collins. For the first game, the Wolverines are at home against Michigan State.


Downfield Blocking

On this play, Nico Collins demonstrates an excellent ability to execute a downfield block. While I’d like to see him be more aggressive to initiate the contact and establish leverage, he’s still able to be successful. I love that he’s able to drive the defensive back down the field, providing the running back with plenty of room to gain the first down.


Route Running and Catch Radius

It’s subtle, but I love what Nico Collins does through the stem on this route. Not only does he display good acceleration off the line of scrimmage, but his ability to create separation with his body movement is pivotal. Finally, Collins high points this ball, with the defender draped over him, for the touchdown. Earlier this year at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Nico Collins impressed a lot of scouts. This play is a prime example of why.


Creating Separation At The Top Of The Route

Nico Collins is at the top of the screen on this play. Coming off the line of scrimmage, Collins is forced outside the numbers and with little room to operate in. However, Nico Collins does an excellent job to sell the deep route and stop on a dime, creating ample separation for the quarterback to make a throw. Even though the pass is off target, and Collins has to come back quite a ways to get it, he does a great job of staying inbounds to make the catch, too.


What I Dislike About Nico Collins

On the previous page, we looked at three game film clips that best spotlight what Nico Collins does best. However, as with all of our scouting reports here, we like to include clips that spotlight areas where an NFL Draft prospect needs to improve. Down below, you’ll find three clips that does just that.


Blocking In Space

Nico Collins is lined up on the bottom of your screen. As I mentioned on the previous page, Collins was able to execute an excellent downfield block, despite showing the aggressiveness needed to attack the defender. On this play, however, it’s the opposite result. The Michigan Wolverines are still able to gain positive yardage on this play, and likely got all that they could out of this one, but it’s the effort that concerns me.


Blocking On The Outside

Here’s another example of a poor effort on a block. Nico Collins fails to drive through the defender to establish the leverage necessary to hold this block. It also appears that he’s looking back towards the ball, which allows the defender to get around Collins and make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. If Collins had trusted his teammate, and used better technique on this play, it’s a likely touchdown.


Catch Ability At The Top Of The Route

First off, this ball takes hours to reach the receiver once it’s out of the quarterback’s hands, which allows the defensive back to close the gap. However, the ball is placed right in front of Nico Collins. Dropped passes will keep a receiver off the field in the National Football League.


Nico Collins NFL Draft Scouting Report


  • Quickness Off The Line Of Scrimmage
  • Creating Separation
  • Blocking Ability Once Leverage Is Established


  • Run Blocking Effort
  • Lacks High Production In Collegiate Career
  • Locate Ball Quickly At The Top Of The Route


The Verdict

In terms of football talent, it’s all there for Nico Collins. His film form the week of practices at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama was some of the best out of that group. Furthermore, as we’ve shown in this scouting report, Collins has the abilities to make a lasting impact in the NFL.

Despite this, there are key areas where Nico Collins needs to improve. While it may eventually happen, Nico Collins isn’t expected to be a number one receiver in an NFL franchise. As a result, he’ll likely be expected to contribute as a blocking wide receiver. I want to see more effort, and more aggressiveness, from Collins.

Nonetheless, I fully believe that Nico Collins has done enough to cement himself as a second-round NFL Draft prospect in 2021, as we’ve illustrated in this scouting report. As a 6’4″ wide receiver, Collins has the preferred size. However, his NFL-career will center around his ability to learn, improve, and get better.

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