Jamie Collins eyed as breakout performer

When the Patriots selected linebacker Jamie Collins in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, he was viewed by many as a raw prospect with great upside and athleticism. One year later, the expectations for Collins are changing.

CBSSports.com NFL columnist Pete Prisco, for one, lists Collins among his NFL breakout candidates.

"He really came on late and flashed big time in the postseason," Prisco writes. "He has the athletic ability and size that will help make him a star."

That opinion is echoed in a similar piece by Alex Marvez on Foxsports.com, which also picked Collins for its "ready to explode" slideshow: "Versatility, a trait cherished by New England head coach Bill Belichick, has the Patriots grooming Collins for an even bigger role in 2014."

A look at Collins' defensive snaps played in 2013 shows his steady progression and how he ultimately became a three-down contributor in the playoffs, which is expected on a more regular basis in 2014:

at Bills: 2

vs. Jets: 4

vs. Buccaneers: 18

at Falcons: 12

at Bengals: 10

vs. Saints: 6

at Jets: 15

vs. Dolphins: 26

vs. Steelers: 2

at Panthers: 2

vs. Broncos: 22

at Texans: 14

vs. Browns: 55

at Dolphins: 29

at Ravens: 33

vs. Bills: 48

vs. Colts: 65

at Broncos: 72