When your Houston Texans traded up to grab Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins in this years draft, some wondered why Nick Caserio was so high on the player that he would give up so many draft assets to get him.
This, of course, brought extra scrutiny to the pick. The main question: was Collins any good or not? His collegiate game film was hit & miss, with some great plays, some flaws and some pretty sizable question marks.
With everyone from fellow wide out Brandin Cooks to wide receivers coach Robert Prince, passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton and others praising Collins, it’s starting to really look like Caserio hit this one out of the park.
And, what has Collins done too live up to these accolades? Worked harder than most rookies and stayed late after practice to perfect his craft.
Nico Collins is working route-running as practice ends. The rookie isn’t acting like one and has been one of the names on the rise at camp. #TexansCamp— Cole Thompson (@MrColeThompson) July 31, 2021
Oh yeah, and burn a few Texans defensive backs along the way.
Texans rookie wide receiver Nico Collins @lbg_nico7 caught a touchdown pass on a fly pattern, beating corner John Reid. Collins' size (6-4, 215) and speed (4.43) and route running skills makes him difficult to cover— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 2, 2021
To the beat of Metallica no less.
Nico Collins just DESTROYS John Reid on this route... Texans got a steal in Nico— Clutch City Entertainment (@ClutchCityENTX) August 2, 2021
Just imagine if they were listening to the new Napalm Death.
Another big play from #Texans WR Nico Collins on a flag route, potentially a TD in a game without the whistle in practice, this one with Bradley Roby on him. Pharaoh Brown with a MASSIVE block on Lonnie Johnson on the play to allow Taylor to get the ball off.— Landry Locker (@LandryLocker) August 3, 2021
While Collins may not have the opportunity to learn from former Houston Texans pass catching greats Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, he does have some experienced vets pouring into him.
How I feel about Nico, I mean this guy doesn’t look like no rookie to me. You talk about a guy who’s out there that’s coachable and able to pick up things pretty fast. You love to see that from a young guy. The guy’s explosive, natural hands. I look forward to continuing to work with him and seeing him grow. I love it just because I had a guy — guys, I should say — that looked after me coming up and so all I’m trying to do is repay that and pay it forward in guys like Nico.
However, head coach David Culley is making sure Collins’ feet don’t get too far off the ground.
Culley on Nico Collins: "Starting to see him make some plays ... as you watch the video there's still things that he's not doing that we need to do better ... the issue that we got to have from him is: he's got to make those plays all the time. And that's not happening right now" pic.twitter.com/SpEle2kguj— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) August 2, 2021
In a season where Houston Texans fans desperately need something to get excited about, Nico Collins might just be that guy.
Hopefully he’s not the only one.