L.J. Collier had been considered a late round sleeper heading into Senior Bowl practices this week; the type of player a team might take a flyer on with their sixth or seventh round pick as a developmental-type player.
But as the Senior Bowl week has progressed, it’s been obvious that drafting Collier in the late rounds won’t be an option for a team - he’s a guy that’s likely to go on day two. Collier, who tied for second for the team lead with six sacks, added double-digit tackles for loss, and four pass break-ups, measured in at 6-foot-2, 280 pounds with 34 2/3-inch arms and 81 1/4-inch wingspan. He has impressed scouts with his ability to overpower offensive linemen, showcased a variety of pass-rush moves, and been one of the consistently hardest workers each practice. While he has flashed power since his time at TCU began, he had something extra to prove in Alabama - that he had the speed, too. He’s done that.
Here is what scouts, pundits, reporters, and evaluators have been saying about L.J.’s performance during this week’s practices:
TCU edge-rusher L.J. Collier was the most consistent pass-rusher on the North squad all week. At 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds, he has a compact built but is fully aware of how to utilize his tentacle-like, nearly 35-inch arms to his advantage. His straight-arm move sent every offensive tackle back during the week, and he can counter off that initial move to the inside or outside thanks to loose hips. - Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports
Traditional power rushes involve a hard charge up-field before pressing and extending. It can be done with both hands or one, but length prevents blockers from establishing their hands on you as a rusher. And Collier showed that extension/length in drills. B-gap defenders need to illustrate this kind of extension skill, upper body strength and length to guarantee they’re able to uncover in the gap and challenge the ball. So consider that box checked. Collier wasn’t just raw power, either. He showed grace in collecting his balance off of contact. - NFLDraftNetwork.com
I you LJ Collier (91) TCU.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 24, 2019
Having a great week!!! pic.twitter.com/CxyzejWd9E
A winner for me yesterday was TCU DL L.J. Collier. Checks a whole lotta boxes. Quickness and power with length. pic.twitter.com/OSxnJx7bN5— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) January 23, 2019
TCU’s LJ Collier has been the best DL on the North side through two days of practice so far #SeniorBowl— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) January 23, 2019
Collier has had the opportunity to speak for himself, too, of course, and has really enjoyed the process - especially being coached up by Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders. You have to admit, he would be a great fit for the silver and black, and he knows it, too. “I knew from his background that he was a hell of a coach, and he expects a lot out of us, so I was trying to give him my best today, and work hard for him today, and give him everything I got. I’d really love to play for the Oakland Raiders, and they’re rebuilding right now, and I’d love to be a part of that rebuild. Because of the fire I play with, and the tenacity, and aggressiveness I bring to the table. I fear no one. I come from the country, and guys think that because I come from a small town they think they don’t have to respect me, so I’m going to make them respect me.”
Collier, a guy who plays with passion and fire, that has the drive and work ethic to be great, and who has been through it all at TCU, will find his way onto somebody’s draft board come April. And having watched his growth at TCU, there’s no doubt he will find a way to make plays in the NFL, too.