Redskins rookie Jimmy Moreland becoming “the people’s cornerback”
By Ian Cummings
Hype moves quickly in the NFL offseason, and a certain Redskins rookie is doing his part to fuel the fire.
Organized team activities provide the very first opportunities for incoming rookies to prove they can stick around with the veterans of the NFL. The Washington Redskins found, on Wednesday, that one late-round pick might be better acclimated for the pro game than expected.
His fans gave him a nickname in which an expletive became his middle name in college, and as he moved on to the NFL, he was described as a pick machine, with a dog mentality. James Madison product Jimmy Moreland didn’t have your average seventh-round pick reputation. Coming off of a four-year college career with 18 interceptions and 63 pass deflections, Moreland was No. 120 on our Top 150 big board, and in Round 7, he was considered great value.
Moreland backed up that suspicion on Wednesday. Beat reporters live tweeted in awe as Moreland caught not one, not two, but three interceptions in organized team activities. The way he acquired these interceptions varied as well. On the first pick, he ripped a screen pass from the hands of Darvin Kidsy. On the second, he snared a pass deflected by Deion Harris. And on the third, Moreland read Dwayne Haskins‘ eyes and undercut a route in the red zone, taking the football 100 yards the other way, with a parade of Redskins players behind him.
After practice, a reporter asked Moreland how many picks he had that day. Moreland responded, with a smile.
“Three. Hat trick.”
Moreland hasn’t quite reached the level of offseason hype that Trey Quinn achieved last year, as the 2018 NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant, but Moreland is well on his way. It’s important not to jump too far ahead with the excitement and anoint players too early, but Moreland has the definite traits to flourish as a contributor. His vision, closing speed, and ball skills make him a near constant turnover threat, and as Wednesday’s practice showed, “the people’s cornerback” is already reinforcing that reputation at the NFL level.
Time will tell if Moreland can build on his early success, and if it can translate to the field. He’s started about as well as one could have asked him to. He can’t rest on his laurels, but Moreland’s never been one to do that, anyway.