Scouting Spotlight: DE Harold Landry
Position: Outside linebacker (3-4)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 250lb
Projected 40 time: 4.74
First Impression: The first game I watched of Landry’s was against Notre Dame. Against a good offensive line he seemed to struggle a little bit and gave up a huge play for a touchdown which he should’ve stopped in the backfield (more on that later). I continued to watch his gameplay and I began to see the Harold Landry that scouts have been clamoring about for years: with the speed and strength to be a force off the edge.
The Run Game
Pros- Landry has a low base against the run and is not an easy man to move. He engages pulling guards very well and is able to set the edge on most tackles if it is one-on-one. Do not try and use a tight end to block him because he is simply stronger than they are and too good of a football player to not make the play himself.
Cons- Though he holds his ground for the most part it seems he never is able to push the offensive lineman back into the path of the running back unless they make a mistake. In double-team situations he seems utterly overpowered. As of now he does not have the functional strength to be consistently effective against the run in the NFL at his current position of defensive end. Sometimes Landry is slow to react on his reads. He overthinks and either takes himself out of the play, or stops himself from being able to make a great play had he otherwise trusted his instincts and attacked. Against Notre Dame there were two pulling lineman but Landry used his speed to go upfield where they couldn’t even touch him. This left Landry one-on-one with the QB, he got stiff in the hips and lost outside contain, which lead to a 45+ yard TD.
The Pass Game
Pros- One thing Landry has in spades is speed, whether it be straight line or off the edge. That alone is enough to beat most offensive tackles. In addition, he’s got the natural ability and instinct to dip low around the side of the tackle to disrupt the quarterback and sometimes grab him by the legs or ankles for the sack. He is a guy who is going to rack up pressures like nobody's business. He also has the strength to use counter moves. He did this flawlessly in a game against VA Tech. The right tackle was so worried about Landry’s straight speed off the edge that he overcommitted and Landry hit him with a vicious strong-arm to get the pressure on the QB and affect the pass.
Cons- Landry doesn’t have the ability to bend the way you see Von Miller and Myles Garrett do in their dip around the tackle and while you’ll often see Landry causing pressure in the pocket you will also see a tackle able to run with him and push him to the ground or out of the play altogether.
Other in game characteristics
Tackling- While Landry is strong he too often allows tackles to slip through his fingers. In the open field, his hips get stiff and he gets burnt with the opponent’s speed and quickness.
Pass Coverage- Landry doesn’t drop into coverage often but he is serviceable in that regard if put in the right situation. Like any 3-4 pass-rushing type player it’s not something he does particularly well. He has the speed to cover ground but not the hips for coverage or consistent open field tackles. However, throwing him in the flat every now and then wouldn’t hurt but don’t expect him to be covering tight ends or running backs out of the backfield (although fullbacks are another story).
Motor- If Landry thinks he is in the play he is an animal and will chase you for 30 yards, but if he feels he isn’t it seems as if he gives up far too often. When you are that type of athlete and have the speed to make a second effort and don’t, that’s not a good look. However, I don’t think that is anything to be worried about in the grand scheme of things.
Landry belongs on a 3-4 team. He can thrive there as an outside linebacker by being allowed to utilize all his best traits: his speed, which he uses to set up all of his pass rushing moves, and the ability to set the edge while not needing to push the blocker back inside. If drafted by a team like the Colts whose roster is depleted I could easily see him leading the team in pressures and finishing the year with 7+ sacks as long as his ankle holds up and he can stay healthy. He will struggle against upper-tier tackles but as a rookie that's expected. He has the traits to develop into a Vic Beasley-type player quickly.