A Look At 2018 Draft Prospect Harold Landry As A Fit For The Detroit Lions.
What Does Harold Landry Bring To The Table?
Boston College had a very athletic and versatile pass rusher in Harold Landry in 2017. His athleticism allowed him to have success playing as a defensive end, and at times as a stand up linebacker. Has proven he can cover in man and zone well enough that he could be asked to do it in the NFL on the occasional zone blitz or disguised drop back.
Landry is a little undersized for an edge at 6’3, 249 lbs, but has the build to put more weight on. Which is a big question whichever NFL team has that will draft him. Because Landry relied on his top end speed, burst, and first step to win in college. Which raises the question do you keep him at his current weight and believe in his speed moves enough to win consistently at the NFL level? Or will you take away his best traits, speed and quickness, by asking him to bulk up?
The good news for Lions fans is that their new head coach, Matt Patricia, has had a proclivity for hiding his defensive players’ weaknesses by scheming to their strengths. If that translates to his head coaching career, Landry could be an explosive part of the pass rushing game, were he to be selected by Detroit.
After the combine Landry had, splash plays like this one should not be a huge surprise. This is what you see often with the defensive end generating sacks. The jump he gets on the snap is great and quickly gets up to speed in his first couple steps. Hip flexibility is special for Landry and helps him bend around the tackle without getting impeded. But in the NFL, the starting tackles he will face will likely be superior athletes so there is some concern that these plays cannot be relied on at the next level.
This play against Virginia Tech shows one of Landry’s other athletic qualities and that is his great length. He posted a nearly 33″ wingspan at 6’3″, which really helps him gain leverage on the edge. While he is a bit lucky the quarterback brought the play too him as his bull rush was stalling, he still makes a play that was rarely made in Detroit’s defense the last couple seasons. When the quarterback tries to escape through the B gap, Landry’s hand placement and length give him enough leverage to shake the tackle and earn the sack. His discipline and awareness are important here too because often the reason the play was not made in Detroit was for the lack of these two traits.
Ultimately, Landry has shown some serious athleticism, which translates to one of the most coveted abilities in the NFL: the ability to rush the passer. This will make him worthy of a 1st round pick based on skill set. But, there is some legitimate risk associated with the pick. His reliance on speed to win will likely have to change in the NFL. One dimensional players rarely last since opposing teams can pick it apart. But I do think Landry has the frame to add more weight to help mitigate that risk. However, you do worry a bit you may remove the quickness that makes him special with that. I really like his motor and takes really good angles to the ball-carrier, as well as his aforementioned versatility. He may need some time to develop, but with his athletic ability and mental processing, he may be worth the risk as a speed rusher with run stopping potential in a pass first league.