With about two months to go to the start of the season, the Washington football team appears in the top two spots as a cornerback.
Apparently, any roster prediction article has returning star Kendall Fuller and the recent free agent who signed William Jackson III as the top two cornerbacks entering the camp later this summer. Fuller is entering the second year of his second stint with the Washington football team, while Jackson rejoins Bordeaux and Gold after four seasons at Cincinnati.
From there, the positional battle at the cornerback is sure to be one of the more intriguing scenarios on the defensive side of the ball entering the camp. The Washington football team’s website has 10 players listed as corners, with three more listed as “DB.”
While there are sure to be plenty of options in this position, it seems highly likely that third place cornerback will go to rookie Benjamin St-Juste or third-year man Jimmy Moreland. With JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington writing that the third corner is likely to “play a lot in the defense of Jack Del Rio”, the decision between the two could become more crucial than it seems.
St-Juste enters the camp with a considerable hum. A third round player from Minnesota, St-Juste has the rather unique distinction of being also selected in the draft of the Canadian Football League. The choice of Washington’s football team was called “surprising” at the time, with some believing Washington had other necessary positions that could have been filled in the choice.
Nonetheless, somewhere in the evaluation process, the Washington football team found something they liked about St-Juste. He began his college career in 2017 in Michigan, contributing to special teams and as a cornerback. He was jacketed in 2018 with a hamstring injury before being transferred to Minnesota, where he will record 45 tackles in 2019 and win All-Big Ten academic honors in 2020.
St-Juste brings a lot of anticipation. But, if any predictions were made today, he would place himself behind Moreland on the depth map.
Del Rio has already said that St-Juste will play the cornerback, what follows with his experience. However, in a crowded and talented group, St-Juste is simply lacking in experience. Plus, his 2020 stats, while respectable, show some regression from his 2019 high. While he certainly has the tools to improve and become a reliable wedge, Moreland is simply the best in the short. run for a team that has playoff aspirations.
Jimmy Moreland entered the NFL in 2019 as the 227th pick overall. Thanks to dazzling pre-season pieces that generated considerable buzz, he made it to the roster and gained fans along the way. In his first two seasons, Moreland played 30 games, totaling 86 tackles. His best season came last year, where he recorded his first career interception in a Week 1 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Moreland also won his first career half-sack, assisting on a sack against the Cincinnati Bengals in November.
Nicknamed “The People’s Corner,” Moreland excelled at the college level. A star defenseman at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, he set school records in career interceptions (18) and pick-six (6). In 2018, Moreland received the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year award and was a finalist for the Bill Dudley Award, awarded to the best college player in Virginia. While these academic accolades certainly don’t guarantee professional success, it does show how Moreland quickly became popular with Washington fans in the region.
In the end, popularity doesn’t get you far. Moreland has shown lightning bolts in his limited playing time and clearly has the tools to excel at this level. With his mid-term rookie deal, Moreland must continue to capitalize on these opportunities to land an excellent second contract, whether in Washington or elsewhere. If performance is lacking, Washington has the depth to make changes to the depth chart and call in a rookie like St-Juste for a little test shot.
Moreland presents a great option for Washington in this role: a player with great potential and a few years of NFL experience who can step in and play in crucial places. Jimmy Moreland has all the tools to put together a breakout season and rise above the crowded depth chart at the cornerback position to ensure an important role in the defense of the Washington football team. With head coach Ron Rivera previously voicing his support for Moreland, it looks like he has the means to win the role.