The Redskins defense just added Chase Young and also features up-and-comers like Daron Payne, Tim Settle and Montez Sweat. But when it comes to a potential breakout player for the unit in 2020, Landon Collins is actually looking elsewhere.
During a Twitter Q&A at the end of March, Collins mentioned cornerback Jimmy Moreland's name multiple times as someone he's expecting a lot out of this season. While on a Zoom call with local reporters on Wednesday, the safety got the chance to explain why he's so optimistic about the former seventh-round pick.
“Jimmy was supposed to have seven picks last year," Collins said. "He just didn’t trust himself within his ability to do those things. That is just a rookie not being sure or seeing what they want to do and just going for it."
Considering Moreland finished the campaign with zero interceptions and only four pass deflections in 14 games, some may understandably scoff at Collins' assessment of the corner and how he could've been one of the league's best at forcing turnovers.
Collins, however, was completely serious. Part of the reason is that he once went through what Moreland did in 2019.
"That’s how it is as a rookie," Collins said. "I saw things and didn’t do it because I was scared that a veteran was going to be mad at me."
At James Madison, Moreland proved how dangerous he can be when he's comfortable and acting on his instincts. He set the school record for career interceptions with 18, and he turned six of those into touchdowns on his own.
Moreland appeared well on his way keeping that up as a pro, too, as he was a menace in OTAs and at training camp last offseason. Once he started going up against different offenses and better QBs every week, though, he started getting exposed.
Despite those issues, Collins still saw the makings of a "special" defender when watching Moreland. And now that Moreland has a year's worth of experience in the NFL, his veteran teammate is ready for him to make those splash plays.
"I think he has the confidence now and the trust," Collins said. "He knows we trust him in his ability to do something."
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