Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)
Finally – It was a long wait on Saturday afternoon for JMU’s Jimmy Moreland. The cornerback wasn’t drafted until the 227th overall pick, which came in the seventh round, but we’re sure Moreland is still thrilled to get picked. He’ll join former teammate Andrew Ankrah on the Redskins roster.
No promises – Seventh-round picks aren’t guaranteed roster spots, and Moreland will have to work to earn a role on the team. Luckily for Moreland, he’s incredibly dynamic on special teams, which boosts his chances of staying put. He also possesses elite ball skills for a cornerback, and he’ll have the chance to prove his value during rookie mini camp and the preseason.
Historical context – Moreland is the first JMU Duke drafted since the Arizona Cardinals selected Earl Watford in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. That’s a long drought for a proud FCS program and could trigger a chain reaction of Dukes getting drafted in future seasons. JMU’s 2019-20 roster has a handful of players that will either get drafted or earn UDFA contracts. Moreland is paving the way for future Dukes. Here’s a screenshot of JMU’s draft history, courtesy of drafthistory.com.
As you can see, Moreland is only the fifth Dukes since 2000 to be picked in the NFL Draft. JMU hopes to become the NFL “factory” of the FCS in coming seasons, much like Alabama and Clemson are in the FBS. Don’t expect 5-7 Dukes drafted in coming seasons, but it’s not outlandish to think JMU can start a streak of consecutive seasons with drafted players. The next few seasons will likely see JMU players selected.