Even though Landon Collins has been a rookie for the most part of this season, his performance now proves that he has the potential to rise in NFL power rankings for the New York Giants just like Weston Richburg. So far, he has excellently played in the safety position to seal the holes in their 2015 poor defense, which made them finish bottom in the league.
Individually, Collins’ his first year with the Giants showed serious inconsistency, but he relentlessly improved towards the end of the year. In week one of 2015, he had a rough time to make any touchdown, as he seemed very exhausted. Week two even worsened his career with the Giants, when he forgot to stop Leonard Hankerson, the Atlanta receiver, from scoring. The most devastating highlight of his 2015 season occurred when he failed to make an obvious interception, which was an excellent opportunity to win the match against the New England Patriots.
However, not all these mishaps melted down his prowess and enthusiasm to deliver excellent plays. As an exceptionally remarkable achievement, Collins has started every game for the Giants giving him the opportunity to outdo the sophomore season of Weston Richburg. Admittedly, Collins and Weston Richburg play in different positions, making it strange to say that Collins can compete with Richburg, who plays as an offensive lineman. However, I can match them by analyzing the uninteresting first year of Richburg.
Since Richburg naturally plays as a center, he constantly played outside this position at guard in his rookie year in 2014. He started 15 out of 16 games that year, but conspicuously struggled to make a major difference as he played next to J.D. Walton, also an unproductive journeyman center. As soon as Walton left the team, Richburg took his position and improved his game tremendously. In his sophomore season, Richburg arose possibly as one of NFL’s best centers and even appeared in the list of Pro Football Focus Pro Bowl roster.
In comparison to Richburg, Collins also started almost all Giant’s games in 2015 in which he played outside his natural position. Even though he immensely struggled to catch up from day one, his luck came when three safeties succumbed to injuries, forcing him to take the free safety positions. With his strong safety potential, he surprised his critics by leading the Giants in tackles even though he terribly struggled in pass coverage. Just as Richburg played along an unproductive expert, Collins also played next to Brandon Meriweather, who covered him very poorly.
Collins would resume his strong safety position because the injured safeties have recovered and the Giants have signed Darian Thompson. As such, Collins comfortably utilize the services of Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive controller, in certain play sets. Like Richburg, Collins will slide back to his natural position after going through yearlong adversities that complement the NFL.
Like the last year Richburg, Collins can make the same impact this year. Collins has the physique and necessary skills to grow into an influential starter for his team. Additionally, due to his intense energies, he display the passion and enthusiasm to achieve and even surpass Richburg’s feats. Even though he is a naturally fit safety position player, Collins needs to work on his pass coverage. However, he can make a big difference in the run game because he has the linebacker build and hits hard as well. In the 2015 season, the Giants sometimes utilized Collin’s skills as a free rusher in which he adequately pressured most quarterbacks. Therefore, Collins has the discipline, right mentality and the proper physical build that any NFL player should have.
The relentless attitude that Collins displays during play, along with his hard work makes him very coachable. As the alpha male of his safety position, along with his natural leadership potentials, such characteristics makes him a potentially voiced and expressive leader of the Giant’s safety unit. In the game against the Patriots, he showed his mental agility by not only manning up after dropping the interception, but also improving his skills every subsequent week.
Even though the argument that Collins can emulate Richburg seems odd because of the difference in positions of play, Collins has the perfect opportunity to improve his NFL power rankings in the footsteps of Richburg. While it seems like an uphill battle, including the busy offseason and preseason, Collins can even feature at the Pro Bowl this year.