Heaps: What are the expectations for Seahawks DE L.J. Collier in 2021?
After a rough start to his professional career, 2019 Seahawks first-round pick L.J. Collier looked the part of a pro in 2020, starting all 16 games at defensive end in his second NFL season.
Collier, 25, was slowed by injuries in his rookie year, appearing in 11 games with only three tackles, but last season was much better. Whether Collier looked like a first-round talent in his second professional season is up for debate, but he did contribute to Seattle’s defense a great deal and played roughly half of the team’s defensive snaps.
In an appearance Wednesday on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Collier shared his expectations for his third NFL season. He said “I’m really going crazy” in 2021 after a fully healthy 2020 campaign, and mentioned that he wants to be a Pro Bowler. He also said that he believes the Seahawks will have the NFL’s top-ranked defense next year as the team is “stacked” with talent and has a lot of players coming back.
Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy heard Collier’s goals for 2021 and shared what his thinks the third-year defensive end can do next season.
“He was talking about how he was going to become a Pro Bowler this year. That was his goal, that he was really going to turn it up this year and that he felt great going into year two, really gained some confidence. This next year is going to be a big year for him,” Heaps said. “He also said that the defense is going to be the No. 1 defense in the league. I think we’re in the offseason hype, confident mode right now if you’re most players in the league.”
While Collier may be hyping things up quite a bit, Heaps thinks that Collier can build off of a strong 2020 showing. In 2019, Collier had 22 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for loss. Heaps said that those numbers need to tick up in 2021, especially as Collier is voicing his goal of being a Pro Bowl player.
“What I would hope for in terms of L.J. Collier’s production is to bump his total up to 30 to 35 total tackles, for him to have five sacks and maybe increase (tackles for loss) to six or eight,” Heaps said. “That, to me, would be a massive increase in (production) and a step in the right direction and make you feel really good about L.J. Collier’s contribution.”
Heaps said he doesn’t expect Collier to be a Pro Bowler based on what he’s seen from the DE the last two seasons but would be pleasantly surprised and happy if he did.
“If he’s shooting for it and can make it happen, it would be a huge, huge boost for this team,” Heaps said.
You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts in the Four-Down Territory segment of Wednesday’s episode of Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Jake & Stacy