CLEVELAND -- Ranked near the bottom of the National Football League in several categories, the Cleveland Browns sought out and added talent to bolster their defense at the trade deadline.
And bolster their roster they did by trading a draft pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins, a veteran defender that is versatile enough to contribute on his side of the ball as well as special teams.
“He is a really good football player,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He is different in a sense that he knows how to play, not that our guys don’t, it is just he is a different player. He is a tremendous athlete. He is smart. He is bright. Football is very important to him, and it says that because he did, he walked in here and hit the ground running.
“He has played in two football games, and I think everybody can see the potential that he has. The more he is with us, the more he is with our coaches, the more he is with his teammates, the better he is going to be. He is versatile. He can play a lot of different spots, so he gives us a lot of flexibility. To me, it would be a coup if we can keep him here.”
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Collins is in the middle of his fourth professional season after joining the Patriots with a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro in 2015.
Over his career in New England, Collins totaled 285 tackles, 10.5 sacks, five interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, four recoveries, one defensive touchdown and a blocked extra point.
Since joining the Browns (0-10) through a trade with the Super Bowl contending-Patriots three weeks ago, Collins has registered 18 total tackles, including 12 solo stops and six assists, and one sack over his two starts.
“I wanted to make sure we dealt with the elephant in the room,” Jackson said. “Normally, when you say things like that, you look for the response of the player. All he said was, ‘Coach, this is business. I get it.’ He goes, ‘I’m excited about my opportunity in Cleveland. I am going to come there and give it everything I have,’ and that is what he has done.”
According to Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Collins has bought into philosophy of the team, and that is why he has been able to make a difference so early in his tenure in Cleveland.
“He has played outside, inside, and we will continue to exploit, if you will, his tools and his athleticism,” Horton said.
“As you look around the league, it is really nice to see a gifted athlete that is smart and wants to win and has embraced being here. It is really, really refreshing to have him in the locker room, in the classroom and just guys know who he is, and when you get players with Super Bowl rings, it carries a lot of weight.”