Analytics website Pro Football Focus named Landon Collins the NFL's breakout player and ranked the Giants secondary among the league's best:
Many people expected Landon Collins to make a leap in his second season, but they didn't know it would be this high.
The Giants' second-year safety dominated on one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL, and for that, he has been named the “Breakout Player of 2016” by Pro Football Focus. In 2016, Collins again led his team with 125 tackles, a franchise record for a safety.
The 23-year-old also had 4.0 sacks, five interceptions (one he returned for a touchdown), 13 passes defensed, nine tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. He was twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Week and was the conference's Defensive Player of the Month for November while becoming the only player in league history to have at least 100 solo tackles, 2.0 sacks, five interceptions, and 12 passes defensed in a season.
That's the type of production general manager Jerry Reese and his staff envisioned when they traded up to select the Alabama product with the first pick of the second round in the 2015 NFL Draft.
"This season, Collins was moved closer to the line of scrimmage; since the change, he has been an all-action player as the Giants' strong safety, making the PFF All-Pro first team and compiling a strong case for Defensive Player of the Year," PFF's Sam Monson wrote. "Collins ended the season with five picks, four sacks, five pass breakups, over 100 solo tackles and eight more defensive stops than any other safety in a truly outstanding season."
As a result, the Giants had one of the league's best secondaries, which PFF ranked No. 2 behind the Cowboys and ahead of the Patriots.
Along with Collins, who picked up first-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press, veteran cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins (second team) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (second team) also had career years. And for the first time since 1963 with Erich Barnes and Dick Lynch, the Giants will send two defensive backs to the Pro Bowl (Collins and Jenkins).
"The Giants' ranking may feel high after their performance against the Packers in the Wild Card game on Sunday, but they were also without their top-graded cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who we recently named as PFF's second-team All-Pro defensive back," PFF's Matt Claassen wrote. "Rodgers-Cromartie finished the year as the sixth-ranked corner in the league, but he wasn't the only Giants DB to play well. In his first year with the team after a big free-agent deal, Janoris Jenkins had by far the best season of his career and also finished among the top 10 cornerbacks in the league."
PFF'S TOP 10 BREAKOUT PLAYERS OF THE 2016 SEASON
1. Landon Collins, S, New York Giants
2. A.J. Bouye, CB, Houston Texans
3. Matt Paradis, C, Denver Broncos
4. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
5. Marcus Cannon, RT, New England Patriots
6. Nick Perry, EDGE, Green Bay Packers
7. Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns
9. Casey Hayward, CB, San Diego Chargers
10. Akiem Hicks, DE, Chicago Bears
PFF'S TOP 10 SECONDARIES
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New York Giants
3. New England Patriots
4. Denver Broncos
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. Atlanta Falcons
7. Minnesota Vikings
8. Houston Texans
9. Arizona Cardinals
10. Baltimore Ravens