Landon Collins deserves to win defensive player of the year
Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) celebrates with teammates after making a game-ending interception against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After an All-Pro season, New York Giants safety Landon Collins has been named Pro Football Focus’ Breakout Player of the Year.

In just one year, Landon Collins has transformed himself from a potential draft bust into arguably one of the top five defensive players in all of football.

During his rookie campaign a season ago, Collins received Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) lowest coverage grade among safeties. The second-round pick was responsible for a position-high 620 receiving yards and five touchdowns while allowing opposing quarterbacks a 125.7 passer rating against him.

However, in his sophomore season, Collins completely flipped the script. He allowed just a 70.1 passer rating while giving up only touchdowns on the season. As a pass defender, the Alabama product also notched five interceptions and 13 passes defended. His interceptions total put him tied for the fifth-highest mark in the league and was just pick shy of team leader Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Though he was always an above average run defender, ranking ninth among safeties in run-stop percentage as a rookie by PFF, Collins has now emerged as an elite player in that category. Among safeties in 2016, PFF ranked him ranked third in run stops (26), third in run-stop percentage (6.8), second in total tackles (125), and first in defensive stops (46).

Given more freedom this season to play near the line of scrimmage, Collins excelled at rushing the passer as well, posting a position high four sacks. With his versatility Collins proved he can be a factor in every aspect of the game defensively, making the glue that held together the Giants’ revamped defense.

For his efforts in 2016, Landon Collins was elected to his first Pro Bowl, was named a first-team All-Pro, and became the first Giant since Michael Strahan in 2003 to win NFC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He can now add the PFF Breakout Player of Year Award to his long list of accolades from his superb season.

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