Last spring, 2019 NFL draft projections included a member of James Madison’s secondary, but he isn’t the Dukes’ defensive back who seems likely to be picked.
Cornerback Rashad Robinson, from Hermitage High School, was the CAA’s 2018 preseason defensive player of the year. He missed the season because of a foot injury.
Jimmy Moreland, the “other” cornerback at JMU, ended up as the CAA’s postseason defensive player of the year and an All-American. Moreland, a 5-foot-10 179-pounder from Royal Palm Beach, Fla., had five interceptions and returned three of them for touchdowns. The NFL draft starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.
Moreland holds the JMU career record for interceptions (18) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (five). He also had nine breakups as a senior. Moreland was not invited to the NFL combine, but stood out in workouts prior to the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.
In addition to his coverage ability, Moreland has the speed and aggressiveness to contribute on special teams.
Moreland could be selected from the third round to the seventh round, according to NFL draft projections. If he is chosen, Moreland would become the first JMU player drafted since guard Earl Watford was taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round in 2013.
The Dukes’ dry spell in the NFL draft seems odd in light of their success. JMU has advanced to the FCS playoffs each of the last five years, winning the national championship in 2016 and finishing as runner-up in 2017.
Former University of Richmond receiver Cortrelle Simpson is also viewed as a potential draft pick, primarily because of his speed. Longshots include Richmond offensive lineman John Yarbrough and fullback Gordon Collins, and JMU defensive end Darrious Carter and tailback Marcus Marshall.