On the first day of last month’s NFL draft, Redskins safety Landon Collins was convinced quarterback Dwayne Haskins would be selected with the No. 6 pick by his former team — the organization that left Collins heartbroken by not even making him a contract offer after three Pro Bowl seasons.
“I thought he was going to the Giants, honestly," Collins said of Haskins on NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport’s “RapSheet and Friends” podcast this week. “That’s who I thought they [were] going to get. That’s who I thought they needed, but they decided to go elsewhere.”
Indeed, the Giants were in the market for a quarterback to replace veteran Eli Manning, and Haskins, whom many talent evaluators considered the second-best QB prospect in the draft after Kyler Murray, had been frequently linked to the Giants in mock drafts over the previous few months. New York selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick instead, much to the chagrin of the Giants’ fan base and the delight of the Redskins, including Collins. Washington would draft Haskins nine picks later.
“When I saw we picked him up," Collins said, “I was like, we just stole the best quarterback.”
As a four-year veteran, Collins didn’t attend the Redskins’ three-day rookie minicamp over the weekend, where Haskins, who starred at the Bullis School and Ohio State, made his debut in the burgundy and gold. But Collins and Haskins share the same agent, David Mulugheta, so they already know each other a bit.
“He’s a humble kid, very, very, very down to earth," Collins said. “Loves to smile, loves to play around, but when it comes down to playing football, when it comes down to putting in that work, that’s what he’s going to do. Great arm, great accuracy. I’m excited to have him. I know the organization is, and other teams are going to be afraid of him.”
Collins signed a six-year, $84 million contract with the Redskins in March after the Giants decided not to use the franchise tag on him. He told NJ.com this month that New York’s decision to let him go after four seasons left him “kind of heartbroken” and was “very, very eye-opening.”
“I’ve got a lot of motivation for the next six years,” Collins said.
Haskins, who chuckled at his draft party after watching the Giants select Jones with the No. 6 pick, has a chip on his shoulder, too.
“I’m more motivated than ever before,” he told ESPN on draft night. “The league done messed up.”
That sort of motivation could lead to big things, according to Collins.
“Ready to tear up the Giants defense for the next five years and continue on from there," he told NJ.com. "I think we’re going to go get [a Super Bowl title] — or a couple of them.”
Collins said he’s also looking forward to being reunited with his former University of Alabama teammate, Reuben Foster, who had been on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt List since his second alleged domestic violence incident in a one-year span in November. The league announced last month that the linebacker, who was picked up by Washington after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers following his latest arrest, will not be suspended this season.
“When I heard all those things going on, I said: ‘That’s not Reuben. Not at all,’ ” Collins told Rapoport. "Nobody really knows his background, and that’s his story to tell. . . . I’m glad to be a part of him and his life yet again, because that leadership that I bring for him, and just being around him, putting my arm around him and taking him underneath my wing, that’s major.”
The Redskins’ first meeting with the Giants in 2019 is set for Sept. 29 at MetLife Stadium. Mark your calendars. You can bet Collins and Haskins did.
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