Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden believes his team might’ve gotten a steal by picking up cornerback
Had the junior returned for his senior year at Clemson, the 5-foot-11, 197-pound Allendale, S.C., native, many believe, could’ve been a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“We are very excited about that pick up, not only for special teams but we feel like he’s a technician at corner,” Gruden told the media after the conclusion of the draft. “We knocked him down to our rounds because he probably didn’t run the greatest 40 time at combine, but he’s a heck of a football player and I like guys that are physical tackling machines, and that’s what he is.”
Perhaps what excites Gruden the most, however, is Breeland’s versatility. The first-year head coach said he envisions Breeland possibly competing for playing time at cornerback and at the safety position, and said the Clemson product can also bolster the team’s special teams unit.
“He’s going to come down here and compete,” Gruden said. “For him to come in here, the way he plays and the style he plays really fits what any defense does because he’s physical. He can tackle and, obviously, he can play press with the best of them.”
Breeland said he’s ready to come in for rookie minicamp and show the Redskins’ coaching staff what he’s made of.
“I just want to come in and help the team in any way I can, just make a positive impact on the team, whether it’s on special teams, whether it’s coming off the bench playing, whether it’s starting,” he said. “Whatever my role is, I want to play and do well and do well enough so I can help the team win.”
Breeland said he’s also looking forward to learning the cornerback position from Pro Bowler
“D-Hall, he was one of my favorite corners growing up,” Breeland said. “I model his game. He’s a very, very, very interesting player. He is really good.”
- Breeland is the fourth selection of the Jay Gruden era and is the 38th selection by the Redskins under Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen.
- Breeland is the 435th selection made by the Redskins in the Common Draft era (since 1967) and the 30th fourth-round selection in that time frame. He is the 45th fourth-round selection by the Redskins all-time since the institution of the draft in 1936.
- Including the selection of safety
Phillip Thomaslast year, the Redskins drafted defensive backs in the fourth round in consecutive drafts for the first time in the Common Draft era. It is the first time the Redskins have selected members of the same position group in the fourth round in consecutive years since selecting linebackers Shawn Barber and Nate Stimson in the 1998 and 1999 NFL Drafts, respectively.
- Breeland is the 81st defensive back selected by the Redskins in the Common Draft era, the most of any position group.
- Breeland is the eighth Redskins draft pick in the Allen era to have competed collegiately in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the most of any conference in that timeframe. The Redskins selected three ACC products in both the 2011 (Clemson’s
Jarvis Jenkins, Miami’s Leonard Hankersonand Florida State’s Markus White) and 2013 drafts (NC State’s David Amerson, Florida State’s Chris Thompsonand Florida State’s Brandon Jenkins) and added Virginia’s Morgan Mosesin the third round.
- Breeland is the seventh Clemson player selected by the Redskins all-time, joining B Charlie Timmons (1942), B Buck George (1955), DB Frank Liberatore (1968), S Leomont Evans (1996), WR Rod Gardner (2001) and DE Jarvis Jenkins (2011).
- Breeland is the fifth player selected by the Redskins at No. 102 all-time, joining C Frank Kuchta (1958), RB Jimmy Smith (1984), RB Stephen Davis (1996) and QB
Has an infant daughter. Played quarterback and defensive back as a South Carolina prep. Also lettered in basketball and track, winning state titles in the 400-meter hurdles as both a sophomore and junior. Redshirted in 2010. Saw his first collegiate action in '11 and played in 14 games (seven starts) at cornerback, recording 53 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions with one tackle for loss. Was limited during an injury-plagued '12 season, registering 32-3-0 with 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack in 10 games (five starts). Suffered an abdominal strain early in the year and eventually underwent groin surgery in December, missing the final three games of the year. Had a breakout '13 campaign, appearing in 13 games (12 starts) and totaling 74-13-4 with five tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Was suspended for the first half of the Maryland contest after he was ejected for targeting against Florida State.
Fluid athlete. Quick-footed and loose-hipped. Can shadow, mirror and stay in phase. Plays with a sense of urgency and is aggressive supporting the run. Gives effort to pursue from the back side.
Lean, rangy cover corner who sticks his nose in run support and competes against bigger receivers. Is relatively raw, but has an appealing temperament and moldable tools.