Pro Sports Outlook’s ‘Under the Spotlight’ series takes a look at players who may be going under the radar, but won’t be for long. Catch up on players who are showing they deserve more attention for their performance and shouldn’t be getting overlooked much longer.
Today’s Under the Spotlight: Jimmy Moreland, the Redskins 7th Round Pick who’s already turning heads in camp this summer. Take a look at why the James Madison product has what it takes to become a viable contributor at the next level.
Jimmy Moreland had his third INT of the day, and it was a walk-off, pick six. Dwayne Haskins stared down a comeback route to Brian Quick in the end zone & Moreland read it perfectly & jumped it. Whole defense ran behind Moreland as he made his way to the opposite end zone #HTTR
— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) May 29, 2019
UPDATE (8/4/19): After standout performances at OTAs, Minicamp, and Training Camp, Moreland is now listed as Washington’s 4th CB in their 1st released depth chart.
Jimmy Moreland IV carries the ‘Jimmy’ name like his father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He comes from one of the football meccas in the country Belle Glade, FL (also known as Muck City). Belle Glade has produced many pro athletes such as WR’s Kelvin and Travis Benjamin, Steelers Super Bowl hero WR Santonio Holmes, RB Fred Taylor, and more.
Yet, Moreland flew under the radar in high school, only receiving eight Division 1 offers (most notably Iowa St. and Toledo). It wasn’t until Moreland received a late offer from James Madison University (D1-AA) in Harrisonburg, VA that he decided to be a key part of Everett Withers (current NYG DB coach) initial recruiting class. He was discovered by Brandon Staley (Current Broncos OLB coach) through a mutual friend and one of Jimmy’s former coaches.
Once Moreland stepped on campus it was evident he was destined for stardom. After his illustrious career which compiled of numerous awards, an FCS Championship, and re-writing plenty of record books, Jimmy was given the opportunity to play in the East-West Shrine Game and eventually the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. After a strong showing at those events, he was selected with the 227th pick in the 7th Rd of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
Despite making plays at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, Jimmy did not receive an invite to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to truly showcase his god-given talents. Nonetheless, the 2x All-CAA CB did not disappoint at JMU’s Pro Day turning in a 39″ vertical and a sub 4.45 40 in front of many NFL scouts. Both of those results would have ranked him in the top-10 of all CB’s at the combine crushing any potential questions about his pro-ready athleticism.
Moreland’s a true nuisance in press coverage. His ability to mirror the opposing WR’s route disrupts the timing of the play, while he simultaneously keeps his eyes on the Quarterback like the true ball hawk he is. This combination allows him to read the ball coming out of the QB’s hands and disrupt passes before it reaches the intended receiver. His route reading helps contribute to his most important strength: playmaking.
Outside of Jimmy’s athleticism and ability to read routes, his ability to make game changing plays is why he’s such a tantalizing prospect. The film speaks for itself. QB’s often wound up regretting throwing toward the rookie CB’s side whenever he stepped on the field. Moreland stuffed his stats with Interceptions, Touchdowns, Blocked Kicks and Pass Break Ups. If Moreland translates this skill to the pro level and begins making play after play like he did at JMU, every team will end up rueing passing on the FCS product.
Jimmy has stolen the show at the Redskins OTA’s and the head ball coach is clearly taking notice…
“Yeah, he’s a fun guy to watch,” head coach Jay Gruden said afterwards. “He’s always around the ball, excellent ball skills. That’s what drew us to him, and he’s proven to be quite the athlete. He’s picked up the system very well. He’s playing inside and outside. I’ve been very impressed with him.”
As a 7th round rookie, there aren’t many expectations in year one. However, Jimmy Moreland has a chance to become an instant contributor whether its this year in the slot or within the time frame of his four-year rookie deal. There’s an opportunity for him to carve out a big role in the 2019 season if Fabian Moreau doesn’t perform well or if injuries continue to decimate the Redskins like in years past. The Redskins do have quality depth in the CB room with Adonis Alexander, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Danny Johnson, and Greg Stroman all fighting for reps behind the three anticipated starters.
Last year, the Redskins drafted Greg Stroman (VA Tech) in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL draft. He went on to start 3 times and played in 15 of 16 games. There’s a possibility Moreland is in line to have a similar role for a defense that ranked in the bottom half of the league in opposing passer rating and yards/attempt.
Role: Rookie backup CB & ST contributor; potential starting slot
@superstar_jimmy has the tenacity, ability, and athletic tools to become one of the top slot CB’s in the game. However, his path to prominence in 2019 won’t be easy as part of a deep CB room in the nation’s capital. Believing he can be a valuable contributor may seem like too much for a 7th round D1-AA rookie, but Moreland’s traits, playmaking ability, and early success in camp give optimism to the Redskins fan base that he can become a quality starter once he hits his prime. After all, the Draft Network gave him a 4th round grade, highlighting his potential to impact games at the pro level. Teams will test the young ball hawk early in his career, but as he continues to grow, the 31 teams that passed on him for six rounds in the draft will realize leaving Jimmy Moreland on the board was the wrong decision.
The slot CB position is one of the hardest to evaluate as NFL front office execs and scouts continue to struggle to find the ideal fit in today’s pass-happy NFL. Just this offseason we’ve seen two former undrafted players (with similar builds to Moreland) Kenny Moore and Justin Coleman change the financial market for slot CB’s. Coleman received a 4yr/$36M deal from DET w/ $16M guaranteed and Kenny Moore just received a similar lucrative deal earlier this month. They are now the two highest paid slot corners in the game respectively. Don’t be surprised if Jimmy Moreland joins that conversation when it’s his time to shine.
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