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Chiefs Q&A: Should teams hold Alabama’s defensive-back track record against Landon Collins?

The Star’s Terez A. Paylor writes: I’m starting to come around on Alabama defensive back Landon Collins (pictured Monday at the NFL Combine). He came off well in his media interview and I agree with draft pundits — he’s a solid player against the run. But if the Chiefs were to take him in the first round, they would need to be comfortable with his range and coverage ability in the back four.
The Star’s Terez A. Paylor writes: I’m starting to come around on Alabama defensive back Landon Collins (pictured Monday at the NFL Combine). He came off well in his media interview and I agree with draft pundits — he’s a solid player against the run. But if the Chiefs were to take him in the first round, they would need to be comfortable with his range and coverage ability in the back four. The Associated Press

The NFL free-agency period is only a week or so away, so it’s time to dust off our quick-hitting Chiefs Q&As as we prepare for a hectic month of March. I get many similar questions so this is a good way to answer a popular question at once.

This tweet is in response to my story for Thursday’s Star, which is on Alabama star safety Landon Collins and the way he draws motivation from his idol, Sean Taylor.

(One quick note on him that I couldn’t get in the story; when Taylor was murdered in 2007, Collins — who would have been 14 or so at the time — said he cried.)

I’m starting to come around on Collins. He came off well in his media interview and I agree with draft pundits — he’s a solid player against the run. But if the Chiefs were to take him in the first round, they would need to be comfortable with his range and coverage ability in the back four. I think Collins is best suited to fill the role that Eric Berry and Husain Abdullah have played the last few years, but even with the uncertain status of Berry and the fact Abdullah is about to enter the final year of his deal, I’m not sure the Chiefs would invest the 18th overall pick in a box safety.

As far as the performance of recent Alabama defensive backs go, Jets cornerback Dee Milliner, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and safety Mark Barron are all top picks that have not lived up to their billing, but Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix — a first-round pick last year — really flashed some potential. So yes, there’s reason for concern there, but I don’t believe in holding that against a player. Collins can help a team, but it will be important for him to go to a place that makes the most of his strengths.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TerezPaylor.

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