If you haven’t heard of Landon Collins, don’t worry, he’ll soon be a household name for years to come. The New Orleans native left Alabama as an All-American and entered the NFL with a huge chip on his shoulders. Originally projected as a high first-round selection, Collins was drafted by the New York football Giants as the 33rd overall pick in 2015 after a less-than-stellar showing at the pre-draft combine. Although the Giants finished the year 6-10 with one of the worst defenses in the league, Collins showed a lot of promise leading the team in tackles and earning an All-Rookie nod.
And yet, he still entered the offseason with doubters pulling on his coattail. Pundits and scouts alike feared Collins was too slow to play safety, and should think about eventually moving to a linebacker position after getting beat in press coverage a little too often. While many rookies would falter under that pressure, it was exactly what he needed — fuel for the fire.
This season, Landon is back playing his natural position, strong safety, and he’s leading his team in tackles, interceptions and sacks, the only player doing so in the league. The Giants now have the ninth best passing defense in the league, and best of all, they’re 6-3, second in the NFC East, and making a strong push for the playoffs, with Collins at the helm.
A lot has changed in Landon’s life over the last two years, and it’s not just football related. We caught up with the future Pro Bowler at the NFL x Forever 21 launch in New York City a day after his Monday Night win to talk fashion, ODJ, New York, training, playoffs and more.
How would you define your style of dress?
I’m a cool, laid-back kind-of-guy; I’m not flashing or anything like that, so I be in black, grey or white to keep me settled, but I can dress it up so that it pops without being too out there.
Stylistically speaking, what do you do better than anyone else in the NFL?
My shoe game is crazy. I start from the shoe up, so the first thing I think of in the morning is ‘what am I going to wear with these shoes?’
Do you and your teammates have outfit battles?
Last year, we had to wear suits, so it was more of a suit thing. This year, everyone has their own flavor, so someone can either blow you away or we’re like ‘man, what do you have on?’ With our suits, it’s about vests, ties, and accents on jackets, on the inside. I think my jackets are real nice: I used solid colored pants to make them pop even more.
Do you battle it out with ODJ or Victor?
Nah, we don’t mess with them. They’re on a different level. We look at those guys and be like ‘Where’d you get that from? What popped in your head to put that and that together. I saw Odell one time, he had on a white shirt and a jean jacket with a pullover jacket on top of that, but it blended together. And I’m like ‘Bruh, how’d you do that, how did you even think of that?’
Is that because you’re originally from the south, and new to New York layering?
Layering isn’t my thing. I’m always hot, so if I walk into a building with layers on, I’m overheating.
How has New York influenced your sense of style?
New York has influenced my style a lot. When I go home, my guys will be like ‘Where did you get that from? What are you wearing? That stuff not right.’ But I say to them, if you come to New York with what you’re wearing, they’ll look at you like ‘you need to get out of here.’ It’s back and forth, but my style always wins because it’s nothing they’ve ever seen before.
What New York stores or brands are you super into?
Represent, is one… I still come to places like Forever 21 and H&M; you can always pick something up from them.
You’ve went from All-Rookie last year to a sure-shot for the Pro Bowl this season. What did you work on this offseason to get to where you are now?
I worked on a lot. I worked on my ability to explode out of my breaks. I give all praise to my trainer Ryan Clark — All-Pro safety and Super Bowl champ from the Steelers. He just worked on me and my skills, with my explosion, my hip-work — being able to turn around and just make crazy breaks that I never been able to make before. The other thing was to cut my weight down, and once I did that, it was fantastic.
Yeah, you were moving well on Monday night, especially after snagging that interception. You must’vebeen tight when your teammates ran into you, unable to get out of your way.
(Laughs) Nah, I wasn’t. When I ran into my first teammate, he was going to block A.J. Green, and we just ran into each other. My other teammate was trying to get around me to set a block, but I ran into him trying to throw a stiff arm.
It looked like you were on your way to a pick-six.
I was. I definitely was.
At 6-3 and 2nd in NFC East, you guys are making a strong push for the playoffs. What needs to be done to get there?
We need to continue to take it week-by-week, game-by-game, practice-by-practice until we get better. We can’t look pass no team or get settled on how we’re playing right now.