Let’s round up a few Monday odds and ends from around the NFL….
- Patriots second-year linebacker Jamie Collins‘ arrow is pointing up following a terrific rookie season in which he showcased unique athleticism and versatility. In Collins, “Bill Belichick has found a new sort of prototype,” says NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, who profiles Collins as a breakout player deserving of 900 snaps this season. For perspective, Dont’a Hightower‘s 870 snaps led Patriots linebackers in 2013.
- Joe Staley has four years remaining on a six-year, $43.2MM contract with the 49ers, but many consider the outstanding left tackle underpaid, says ESPN’s Bill Williamson, who tweets the team could consider giving Staley a new deal. Either way, Staley isn’t expected to hold out. That’s not the case for Alex Boone, however, tweets Williamson.
- The Steelers need second-year man Markus Wheaton to step up, says ESPN’s Scott Brown in his preview of the team’s receivers.
- In a rundown of AFC South depth chart notes, Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuiness says he doesn’t expect Jaguars free-agent acquisition Toby Gerhart to be any better than average.
- Meanwhile, Vikings rookie Jerick McKinnon is vying to replace Gerhart as Adrian Peterson‘s backup. A third-round pick out of Georgia Southern, McKinnon is making a strong first impression on Peterson: “He’s pretty impressive and there’s not too many guys who impress me like that, especially rookies coming in,” Peterson told Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune.
- Despite a recent ESPN poll (Insider required) of league executives that ranked Jets quarterback Geno Smith the NFL’s worst starter, NewYorkJets.com editor-in-chief Randy Lange tries to make a case Smith’s rookie season was “better than some observers seem to think.”
- If the season started today, the Raiders would be the worst team in football, according to Pro Football Talk.