The San Francisco 49ers appear to be on the look-out for a cornerback in the 2015 NFL Draft. The team has conducted official visits with at least five cornerbacks over the last month. The group includes Jalen Collins (LSU), Chris Dunkley (South Florida), Byron Jones (Connecticut), Marcus Peters (Washington) and Tray Walker (Texas Southern). It potentially includes more visits, but those are the ones that have been reported.
Collins is on the radar, but there are a host of question marks surrounding the LSU cornerback. The most notable previously was his foot injury. Collins underwent foot surgery in March for a stress fracture. The belief is that he will be ready for May camp. Of course, 49ers fans know what foot injuries can mean, with Jimmie Ward and Michael Crabtree both dealing with them heading into the draft.
There are also potential off-the-field concerns. According to Albert Breer, Collins had multiple failed drug tests in college. We are learning about this now, but according to Breer, teams have known about this. There is no indication Collins failed a drug test at the Combine, which could bode well. The Combine drug test is arguably nothing more than an idiot test. Athletes know exactly when it is coming, so if they fail that test, they either have a problem with addiction, they lack discipline, or they are just plain stupid (I'm open to other interpretations). The fact that Collins did not fail then hopefully indicates some measure of discipline that would be of value as he moves on to the NFL.
It remains to be seen how this will impact Collins's draft status. He has been projected into the first round at times, but I imagine most people made those projections without knowing about the failed drug tests. The fact that it would appear Collins was forthright about the tests will probably count in his favor, and I don't imagine that dramatically impacts his draft stock. However, the foot issue is what bothers me. It could very well be nothing, but given recent 49ers draft history, consider me a little gun shy.