Jalen Collins could be first-round option for Steelers

Jalen Collins had a rather modest goal for his on-field workout at the NFL scouting combine.

"I don't want to go out there and embarrass myself," the LSU cornerback said the day before he went through the gauntlet of physical tests in Indianapolis.

Collins did more than eclipse that goal; he ran a sub 4.5-second in the 40-yard dash and also looked fluid in movement drills.

The 6-1, 203-pound Collins has the size, length and speed -- his official time in the 40 was 4.48 seconds -- to develop into a top-tier cornerback at the next level. The one thing he lacks is experience, something teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to weigh if they consider using a first-round draft pick on Collins.

Collins started just 10 games in three seasons at LSU and, he said, the NFL draft board advisory board recommended that he return to school.

But a strong showing at the combine and his obvious physical gifts have positioned Collins well in a cornerback draft class that is lacking in top-end talent.

Collins already has a tie to the Steelers. He has been training at Tom Shaw Performance Camp in Orlando, Florida, and working with veteran Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor among others.

"Just trying to get knowledge from guys that have had experience at the position and success as well," Collins said. "Just trying to take everything in, every little detail to help me get better."

Collins may need time to develop at the next level. But there may not be a cornerback in the draft who has more upside than Collins, and he should be able to at least contribute on special teams immediately.

"I've got a lot of work to do on this kid because I want to like him," draft analyst Mike Mayock said on the NFL Network. "He's not afraid at the line of scrimmage. He's not bailing out. He's just sitting right there and saying 'Bring it.'"