Giants' Landon Collins Has Been A Revelation This Season
Robert Deutsch, USATSI

Box safety Landon Collins has surprisingly anchored the New York Giants’ secondary this season.

Landon Collins will be the first to tell you that he had a substandard rookie campaign last season.

“Last year, Landon was kind of just out there just trying to make plays and going through the motions, just trying not to mess up,’’ he said, via Paul Schwartz of the NY Post. “You could say that last year I was kind of lost and just trying to figure it out as the season went on.’’

However, as many are quick to point out, he’s been a different player this season. The Alabama alum is Pro Football Focus’ sixth-ranked safety (going into Sunday morning’s matchup), and he’s garnered tremendous accolades and praise as a result.

“I played with Troy Polamalu, who’s extremely strong, and as far as in the weight room and the way he’s able to move, the way he’s able to explode, he reminds me of Troy, in that sense,” former Pro-Bowler Ryan Clark said.

While the comparison seems to be somewhat of a stretch (after all, Polamalu won two Super Bowls and made eight Pro Bowl’s with Pittsburgh), the point is obvious: Collins has the talent and physical attributes to thrive at the game’s highest level.

“I have the attributes, I have the talent, the skill level, the knowledge, especially with him [Clark] on my side, especially with my coaches on my side, to be there,” Collins told The Post, when asked about his ceiling as an All-Pro.

Big Blue traded up in the 2015 draft to select the highly-touted youngster, who was pegged as one of the top safeties in college football. Last season, he was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise egregious defense, but is best remembered for his dropped (would’ve been game-clinching) interception of Tom Brady.

It’s been a different narrative this season, though. Collins has emerged as a top safety, partly because he’s been moved closer to the line of scrimmage. The talent was always there — the prototypical frame, decisiveness against the run, good leverage against ball carriers — but the change has enabled him to become more effective.

He’s been able to cover running backs and tight ends, and that has allowed him to do things like this …

And this …

If he continues at this level, even he’ll be able to overlook his “lost” rookie season.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.