My two worlds collide for this draft prospect interview, as cornerback Jimmy Moreland from James Madison University — my soon-to-be alma mater — took some time to speak with me ahead of the draft. The Colts could certainly use more depth at the corner position, and they were one of the 13 teams at the Dukes’ Pro Day on March 26.
The two of us discussed his brief dismissal from the team following his freshman year, his strong senior season and impressive play in the East-West Shine Game and Reese’s Senior Bowl, and the work he’s put in the last few months ahead of the NFL draft.
5’11” 190 pounds
Measurables (from JMU’s pro day):
40 time: 4.44 / Vertical jump: 39 inches / Broad jump: 120 inches
208 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 63 pass deflections, 18 interceptions, 6 pick-sixes, 6 blocked punts/kicks
Fit with the Colts: Given his size, Moreland is expected to spend most of his time as a slot corner. A ball-hawking talent with impressive instincts, Moreland has great twitch and awareness of where the ball is at all times. After a strong showing at his pro day with numbers that would’ve ranked in the top 10 of combine participants, the push for Moreland’s potential continued to develop.
Jim Nagy, now working with ESPN, suggested his 4.44 time is “plenty fast enough to play outside for teams that like instinctive undersized” corners. With potential to play multiple positions in the secondary, Moreland could be a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick for Indianapolis.
BP: It was an up-and-down journey for you during your collegiate career. Following your freshman year you were dismissed from JMU after being arrested for petty larceny of less than $200 ... What did you take away from that experience and how did that help you grow as an individual?
JM: The accident I had after my freshman year was a huge life lesson, for sure. You know, I was at a point where I could’ve lost football forever. I learned from that, matured, I’ve grown as a person and I’ve been able to use my story to help others around me.
BP: One of the things I see talked the most about you is your attitude and confidence on the field. You play extremely aggressive, fly around the field and don’t shy down from jawing with opponents. Where does that passion come from?
JM: I always grew up loving football. Once I almost got it taken away from me, I couldn’t handle the thought of that. I love football. I’ve seen how it can be taken away from you, so I just try to enjoy every moment and thank God for giving me another chance to live my dream.
BP: We talk a lot about people that carry a winning culture, and how that can bring a different energy to the rest of the team. In your college career you won two conference titles and a national championship to go along with a record of 46-10. How do you think that winning attitude can translate to the next level?
JM: At James Madison we always hold each other accountable for our success. I think I can carry that attitude toward the next level in the locker room and on the field. I know that I’m going to do my job and do whatever I can to help the team win, so that way we can all work to get the job done.
BP: You didn’t receive an invite to the NFL combine but had strong showcases in the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. What were those two experiences like for you, especially being the second player ever from JMU to participate in the Senior Bowl?
JM: Those were two great experiences that not many people get the opportunity to play in. With the Shrine Game, the off-the-field work was a great experience, visiting those kids in the hospital. Seeing what those kids go through every day really opens your eyes and makes you thankful for everything that you have. And then the Senior Bowl, the atmosphere around it was great and I’m just thankful I got the opportunity to play in it.
BP: One of the, I guess ‘knocks,’ against you is you might be a little undersized for the outside corner position. I was wondering what work you’ve been doing in the offseason and if you’ve bulked up at all?
JM: I went down at trained at the Michael Johnson performance center, working on getting stronger and faster. I’ve gained over 15 pounds since I started going there, so that’s been quite the change. I’ve been eating better, they’ve got me on a good diet now. Just things to get myself more prepared for the next level.
BP: Are there any corners that you grew up idolizing or any that you model your game after?
JM: I take a lot of stuff from Darrelle Revis, because everyone knows how special he was. The craziest thing with him was how long he was at the top of his game, he had a long career as one of the best in the league. I also watch Patrick Peterson a lot as well.
BP: So you get to the NFL, you’re playing corner. Who’s that one quarterback that you wanna pick off the most and take it back to the house on?
JM: Tom Brady. No doubt. Just to get a pick off of him before he leaves would be great so I could say I picked off the GOAT.
BP: Marketing yourself to NFL teams, what would you say is your best trait on the field and the biggest impact you’ll have on a team?
JM: My ball skills, the ability to cause turnovers. My eyes flare up when the balls in the air. I love turnovers, I love to get the defense off the field. I take pride in that.
BP: You’ve also had a lot of success on special teams, whether its as a returner or someone rushing the kicker to cause disruption. How enticing is that part of your game for NFL teams?
JM: I know I just said I take pride in turnovers but I take pride in that too. I have six blocked kicks in my career at James Madison, but I also had like 10 blocked kicks in high school. Stuff like that can turn a game around so I take a lot of pride in being able to do that.
BP: If I was a general manager of a head coach of an NFL team, why should I draft Jimmy Moreland?
JM: Because he’s the next big thing coming up. He’s a good player and a good teammate. He’s an energetic guy and he’s gonna be someone focused on winning football games.