FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the top questions facing the Patriots is how the void created by linebacker Jerod Mayo's season-ending pectoral injury will be filled.
Rookie Jamie Collins figures to be part of the plan, in some form, and thus it was no surprise that he drew a large media crowd in front of his locker Thursday. Wearing a red sweatshirt with a hood, the unassuming and understated Collins kept his remarks brief, which made us think that he might be the Patriots' most quiet, under-the-radar top draft pick since defensive lineman Ty Warren (2003).
"I'm a team guy. If they put me in for certain situations, I'm going to go in and do what I can," he said.
One of the most important aspects of Collins' development is that he hasn't missed a practice since the start of training camp in late July. Drafted 52nd overall out of Southern Mississippi, Collins was viewed by some scouts as ultra-athletic but also quite raw. He played safety, linebacker and defensive end in college, but has settled in as an off-the-line linebacker for the Patriots as a rookie.
"I feel like I'm coming along pretty good, just going out and doing what I have to do," he said.
Collins has played sparingly on defense through the first six weeks, charted on the field for just 52 snaps. His primary contributions have come on special teams as he's a member of the "Big 4" units -- punt return, punt coverage, kickoff return and kickoff coverage.
He is prepared for his defensive role possibly expanding with Mayo sidelined.
"Maybe a little, but whatever it is, if they replace him with someone else, I'm just here to do my job," he said.