The New England Patriots’ defense has a unique weapon in its arsenal.
Jamie Collins has evolved into a game-changer over the last few seasons, as his skill set allows the Patriots to be flexible in how he’s deployed. He’s technically an outside linebacker, but ESPN ventured to call him a “monsterback” in a recent article detailing a new hybrid position that’s changing the NFL.
According to ESPN, “monsterbacks” are players, like Collins, who are “physical, fast and play-making chess pieces in the game plan.” They’re capable of doing a variety of things on defense — playing the run, playing the pass, blitzing, winning matchups in space, finding, tackling, etc. — and every team is on the lookout for such players in the hopes of making life difficult for opposing offenses.
Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals is the gold standard of today’s “monsterbacks,” according to ESPN, but several other players are worthy of recognition. Collins checked in at No. 3 on ESPN’s list, which can be found below.
1. Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals
2. Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
3. Jamie Collins, New England Patriots
4. Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks
5. Mark Barron, Los Angeles Rams
ESPN also ranked the top five rookies who could evolve into studs with the size, speed and matchup ability to be considered “monsterbacks.” The top of the class is below.
1. Myles Jack, Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Su’a Cravens, Washington Redskins
3. Darron Lee, New York Jets
4. Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders
5. Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
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