When the Giants traded up to draft Landon Collins with the first pick in the second round, it was clear that they envisioned great things from him.What a difference a year makes.
After a relatively disappointing rookie season, most were starting to think that Landon Collins was a bust while the New York Giants even discussed moving him to linebacker.
There was a different switch, though, as in the offseason, Collins relocated from free safety to strong safety.
In addition, he stopped eating his favorite snack (Oreos) and managed to lose 12 pounds to become a much slimmer 216 pounds.
Dropping weight unquestionably set him up to be a faster player from his rookie season. That, in addition to the position switch, put him closer to the line of scrimmage, where Collins hs made a serious difference in the run game.
Against the NFC-East leading Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, he collected six tackles and was the Giants highest graded defender with a grade of 82.7, according to Pro Football Focus.
It was simply the beginning of his all-pro caliber season.
Throughout the season, he routinely showed improvement in every facet of his game. For instance, in his rookie season, Collins had a tough time catching interceptions, even if it was an easy catch.
These missed interceptions turned out to be game changers like in the New England game last year. However, he made working on his hands a priority over the offseason and it has paid off immensely.
Now, Collins has a team-leading five interceptions, which is also tied for second in the NFL while all of his interceptions came within a record-breaking four-game span.
A product of Collins playing strong safety has been his making a bigger difference in the passing game and running game as, often times, the pro bowler has been blitzing.
He also already has a career-high three sacks while only registering 112 tackles in 2015. This year, he already has a team-leading 117 tackles, with one game left, if he plays.
Let’s not forget the asset he has been in the passing game.
In addition to his five interceptions, he also has thirteen passes defended and has demonstrated on numerous occasions his ability to prevent tight ends and denies yards after the catch. Collins’ newfound closing speed can be traced back to his weight loss.
Landon Collins success has been recognized throughout the league thanks to his two NFC defensive player of the week awards — which came in back to game games.
He also won the NFC defensive player of the month award for November but recently, Collins was selected to his first ever pro bowl.
After such a horrendous rookie season, did anyone think Landon Collins would be this good this fast?
If so, kudos to them, and kudos to the kid for making the necessary adjustments to become a star in this league. The future sure is bright for the young New York Giants defense with Collins at the helm.