Safety Landon Collins, the second-round draft pick of the New York Giants in the 2015 NFL Draft, was asked on Friday what his expectations were for his rookie season at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium.
“Defensive Rookie of the Year, that’s my expectation,” Collins responded.
The Giants traded up to take Collins with the first pick in the second round, giving up their fourth-round selection to do so. “They didn’t move up in the draft for no reason, that’s what I’m trying to prove and be ready to play,” said Collins.
Collins has practiced with the first-team defense since being drafted. While most draft pundits argued that Collins was strictly an in-the-box, run-defending safety, the Giants have insisted since the draft that he is more than that. And Collins practiced at both safety positions during the Organized Team Activity (OTA) and mini-camp practices.
“It’s been going fantastic,” said Collins. “The coaches love the range that I have. I get to go showcase it at practice…the more I work on it, the better I can get at it and the more I can help my corners if I need to help over the top.”
Last week, safeties coach David Merritt said the team is still looking for a leader to step forward at safety.
“You need to have one leader back there, and that’s what I’m still looking for,” said Merritt. “It’s elusive. I’m searching for it. If it’s Landon, great. If it’s Cooper (Taylor), great. If it’s Nat (Berhe), great. If it’s Mykkele (Thompson), great. But I need to have a leader come up and emerge out of this mini-camp and emerge out of training camp…(We’ve had) very slow leadership as far as making calls and controlling the defense. The guys right now are very slow at making those checks.”
Collins says he is ready to accept that challenge.
“First, what I’m trying to improve is my trust with the players,” said Collins. “I can’t be a leader until they trust me in my play calling and be able to call plays and make movements and make an adjustment. So that is what I need to work on and that’s what I’m going to work on day by day.”
“(Collins) has to make the calls and get everyone lined up,” said Merritt. “I really do (think Collins can do it). He is starting to realize that these missed alignments and the minus plays, I have to cut those out of my game in order for the guys around me to trust me. That is what he wants to be. He wants to be a leader. Okay, we are putting him out there. I think he is going to be ready to go, definitely, for Dallas.”