ESPN's Todd McShay discusses Michigan Wolverines football's Nico Collins and Kwity Paye.
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Is Nico Collins Being Undervalued? Todd McShay Raves About His Potential

ESPN analyst Todd McShay appeared on a conference call this morning to discuss a wide variety of topics pertaining to the April 29 through May 1 NFL Draft. McShay went in depth on two Michigan Wolverines football players during the call, providing his own personal thoughts on defensive end Kwity Paye and wideout Nico Collins.

Paye is unanimously viewed as a first-round pick by experts, but despite possessing immense physical traits, the same can't be said for Collins. Plenty of projections have the receiver being selected in the middle rounds, but McShay made it clear the Birmingham, Ala., native is being undervalued.

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Michigan Wolverines football's Nico Collins
Michigan Wolverines football's Nico Collins reeled in 729 receiving yards in 2019. (AP Images)

“I’ve always liked this guy," he began, referring to Collins. "I did a couple Michigan games two years ago as the sideline analyst [and got to see him in person]. He didn’t have great quarterback play and wasn’t always utilized properly.

"He can get down the field and accelerate so quickly for a receiver with his size. Collins is big and fast — he’s not a great route runner in terms of getting in and out of breaks, but as a vertical route runner, can stretch the field and put a lot of pressure on defenses.

"I’ve talked to some teams who have him as a Day 3 pick, but I think he belongs somewhere in that third-round range, and maybe even second. You just don’t get many guys who are 6-4 and over 200 pounds who can run in the low 4.4s [in the 40-yard dash].

"The way he accelerates so quickly is what separates him from some of the other bigger receivers in this class. Collins gets to top speed in a hurry and tracks the ball vertically very well.

"He sees it, knows when to turn his head and can adjust to it because of how good his body control is.”

One of the primary complaints surrounding Michigan's offense over the last decade has been the lack of NFL-level skill position players, with wide receiver obviously fitting that description.

The Maize and Blue program used to see wideouts hear their names called within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft on a frequent basis all throughout the Gary Moeller (1990-94) and Lloyd Carr (1995-07) eras, but saw that trend come to a screeching halt following Carr's retirement in 2007.

From 1990 through 2008, eight different Michigan wide receivers came off the board within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, including four first-round picks during that span (Desmond Howard in 1992, Derrick Alexander in 1994, David Terrell in 2001 and Braylon Edwards in 2005).

Since then, only two U-M wideouts have gone within the first three stanzas — Devin Funchess in the second round in 2015 and Amara Darboh in the third round in 2017.

Michigan Wolverines football's Amani Toomer
Michigan Wolverines football's Amani Toomer played with the New York Giants from 1996-2008. (AP Images)
Michigan Receivers who Have Gone Within the First 3 Rounds of the NFL Draft Since 1990
Year Receiver Round (Overall Pick) Team

2017

Amara Darboh

3rd (106th)

Seattle Seahawks

2015

Devin Funchess

2nd (41st)

Carolina Panthers

2008

Mario Manningham

3rd (95th)

New York Giants

2005

Braylon Edwards

1st (3rd)

Cleveland Browns

2002

Marquise Walker

3rd (86th)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2001

David Terrell

1st (8th)

Chicago Bears

1996

Amani Toomer

2nd (34th)

New York Giants

1994

Derrick Alexander

1st (29th)

Cleveland Browns

1992

Desmond Howard

1st (4th)

Washington Redskins

1990

Greg McMurtry

3rd (80th)

New England Patriots

McShay Expects Paye to be the "First or Second Edge Rusher" off the Board

Most projections have Paye coming off the board in the 10-20 range in this year's draft, with very few prognosticators expecting him to still be remaining once the late 20s roll around.

Although McShay didn't give a specific destination on where he expects Paye to land, it was clear he was on board with the aforementioned notion.

“Paye will either be the first or second edge rusher off the board," the analyst said. "The first thing that jumped out to me when studying him was how sudden he is. He has that first step quickness.

"I don’t know if he was always used properly, if you will — you have to get this guy up the field. The second thing that jumps out to me after the suddenness is his motor. There were no Michigan players who played harder than Kwity Paye.

"He was always chasing plays down from behind and giving maximum effort, and I love that about him. I think he’ll be a better pro than he was college player. His production was solid in college, though not elite.

"If he’s developed properly and in the right system, he’ll have a chance to be a really good pro.”

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