Optimus Klein – Will Collin Klein need to “Transform” in the NFL???
By Shawn Gallagher – DFW Writer
College football season has passed, and NFL Teams and dynasty owners are knee deep in the talent evaluation process, as we just witnessed events like the NFL combine, and literally thousands of draft related articles are currently being written during this process. NFL draft fans are getting reacquainted with draft gurus such as Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Mayock these next few months. In dynasty leagues, excited owners get a chance to help improve and build their own dynasties with rookie drafts that are often held right after the conclusion of the NFL draft. In today’s column we will highlight former Kansas State Quarterback Collin Klein, who just finished an outstanding college career, but may need to make a position change to make it in the NFL.
Collin Klein played a huge role in the resurgence of the Kansas State football program under Head Coach Bill Snyder. Klein actually started his college career as a wide receiver playing for the Wildcats, and converted full time to quarterback before the 2011 season, following the departure of graduating starting quarterback Carson Coffman. Klein’s 2011 season really put him on the map as a big time college quarterback, and helped to showcase his versatility in playing multiple positions and kick started his 2012 Heisman campaign. Here is a highlight video of Klein’s 2011 season where the rest of the college football world became familiar with Collin Klein.
2012 Heisman Campaign
2012 really became a banner year for Collin Klein as he kept Kansas State in the National Championship picture for most of the season, while also leading his own Heisman Trophy campaign. Klein led Kansas State to an 11-1 record during the college football season and led the Wildcats to the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, in what ended up as quite possibly the greatest season in Kansas State football history. During the 2012 campaign, Klein’s dual threat quarterback abilities were clearly on display as he passed for nearly 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns while at the same time rushing for 890 yards and 22 Touchdowns!!! Klein’s magical 2012 season is on display here in this highlight video from last season.
Collin Klein has a large physical profile, standing at 6 feet 5 inches, and weighing just around 230 pounds. Klein definitely has the size that an NFL team could utilize somehow, as he seems to have exceptional power and burst when running with the football. The intangibles and leadership shown by Klein throughout his college career are certainly things that could translate well on an NFL team, as he has always been seen as a natural leader and exceptional teammate.
Despite a Heisman campaign as a dual threat quarterback last season, Collin Klein’s passing ability has been listed as quite a concern for NFL scouts, as many don’t feel that he has an NFL arm, and that he relied too much on his rushing skills rather than passing. Klein’s lack of arm strength has caused many to question if he’ll be able to make it as a quarterback in the NFL, and Klein’s similar style of quarterback play to Tim Tebow has already drawn many negative comparisons, wondering if either quarterback will really last in the NFL, and the suggestion has been made that Collin Klein should find a new position if he wants to have an NFL career.
As of right now, which is just a few weeks before the NFL draft, Collin Klein has stated that he will try to make it as a quarterback in the NFL before considering switching to another position. The good news for Klein is that if he indeed switches positions, he has options to consider. Klein is tall at 6 feet 5 inches, and big enough to conceivably make it as an NFL Tight End. Klein also has wide receiver experience from his early days at Kansas State, and has shown that he can catch passes and run with the ball. Klein’s power running style should be able to help him in whatever position he ends up being. If I had to guess right now, I’d bet that Klein eventually tries to make it as a Tight End in the NFL, and it really just depends on how quickly he is able to master his new position. I really don’t see Klein making it as a NFL quarterback, despite his quality work ethic and leadership. Klein will also likely need to bulk up if he indeed switches positions, but as of right now Klein is planning on continuing on as a quarterback, at least for the start of his NFL career.
NFL Draft Outlook
By the time you read this column it may already be known when and where Collin Klein is drafted this year (if he is drafted). My guess is that a team will take a chance on him in one of the later rounds of the draft as a “project” type player. When we finally figure out what Klein’s NFL team will end up being, we should have a much better indication on how he’ll be used, and if a position change is in the plans. Chances are that Collin Klein will end up trying out for multiple positions with his new NFL team in an effort to show versatility and stay on an NFL roster in the meantime. Perhaps a team will implement Klein in some sort of “Wildcat” package to utilize his power rushing and dual-threat skills. Klein’s character and work ethic should at least buy him some time at the NFL level while Klein and his team decide what exactly his NFL future will be.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Outlook
It’s likely that Collin Klein will go undrafted in most dynasty rookie drafts; however, he still could be a prospect to keep an eye on and possibly roster if you have the room. Klein will be seen as a “project” pick for any dynasty roster, but after watching enough film of him, it would still be hard to bet against the guy succeeding at something in the NFL. As NFL offenses become more and more creative and versatile, it’s certainly possible that Collin Klein could fit into the plans of an offense, and makes for a nice dynasty stash to keep an eye on in 2013 and beyond. At the very least, you can have a player on your roster with a really cool nickname like “Optimus Klein”.