Monday, the Browns and Patriots shocked the NFL world when they pulled off a trade involving former 2nd-round pick Jamie Collins. Collins was an important part the Pats defense since 2013 starting in 41 out of the 50 games played. He was a pro-bowler in 2015 and second-team All-Pro in 2015. The Browns gave up a conditional third round pick for Collins, who will be a unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
Collins is a play-making outside linebacker who will help out in a number of different areas.
First, Collins is a major upgrade in the linebacker group. He is already the best linebacker on the team and is someone teams have to game plan around. And because of that Collins is going to help with the development of rookies Emmanuel Ogbah and Joe Schobert. Collins is listed as a linebacker opposite of Ogbah. Which will help set up a one-one pass rush for the rookie out of Oklahoma State. Collins will also make the Schobert more effective because defensive coordinator Ray Horton will be able to pick and choose the situations he uses guys like Schobert or Cam Johnson.
Collins is also a huge improvement at the (sub) nickel linebacker. As of right now, defensive back Tracy Howard was playing the position and its a match-up nightmare for the Browns. Collins is a threat in the pass rush, coverage game and run stopping game. He can match up against opposing teams tight ends or running backs in pass coverage, which is were this team struggles. He can take up blockers in the run stopping game which is one of the main weaknesses of this team. And puts someone like Howard back at a more natural position of defensive back instead of forcing his hand against tight ends and sometimes even offensive lineman.
Collins is only 27 years old and is entering the prime of his career. He has only missed five games in his NFL career and four of them were last year because of an "undisclosed illness". Even missing four games last year Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 46th best player in the league last year and was comparable to Lavonte David of Tampa and K.J. Wright of Seattle.
If the Browns do not re-sign Collins this off-season they will receive a compensatory pick, which teams are now allowed to trade. So trading for Collins is a low-risk, high reward...and not matter what it won't make this team any worse.