Leading up to the 2017 college football season, the CFB Film Room Scouting Dept. is putting together a summer scouting series. We’re focusing on the top draft-eligible prospects entering the 2017 season and will be reviewing their strengths and weaknesses from an NFL scouting perspective. Our latest report features Boston College pass-rusher Harold Landry.
Harold Landry, a senior for the Boston College Eagles, burst onto the college football scene in a big way in 2016.
After a modest 2015 season, with just sack total of 3.5, Landry got to the quarterback much more frequently in 2016 as he recorded 16.5 sacks. Not only was that sack total enough to lead the nation, but he also led the nation in forced fumbles with seven.
So, Landry wasn’t just successful at getting to the quarterback, but he also had an incredible eye for the ball once in the backfield. After posting that kind of production, most would have forgone their senior season and headed for the NFL. But Landry decided it would be best for him to stay to get his degree and develop his skills even further.
In this next part of our Summer Scouting Series, we will take a closer look at what made Landry so successful in 2016, and offer suggestions on how he can improve his game going forward.
Athleticism and Explosion
The first characteristic that jumps to mind about Landry is his explosiveness on the field, especially off the line. As an edge rusher, this is paramount when trying to get around offensive tackles and beating blocks on the inside.
In these plays Landry explodes off the line to cause mass disruption, and blows the play up before it can begin:
In the first play, Landry is so quick to the inside that the offensive tackle has no time to set his feet and readjust. He is able to get a push on Landry but it is too late as Landry already has him beat. In the second play, Landry gets off the line so quickly the quarterback can’t even read him, allowing Landry to blow the play up instantly.
Another attribute scouts are drooling over is Landry’s athleticism. He plays a traditional defensive end role for Boston College, but in the NFL, scouts may peg him as a better fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. This next play showcases Landry’s athleticism as he is able to remain on his feet after a cut block and then make the pick:
Against the Pass
Given his athleticism and explosiveness, this is the area where Landry excels on the field. He is just too fast and too quick off the snap and around the edge to be stopped. But it does take more than just quickness to get to the quarterback as consistently has Landry did in 2016.
Landry has excellent flexibility and bend to dip low and avoid the tackle. This play showcases that ability:
Not only is Landry flexible enough to get around the edge and make the sack, but he has the instinct to go for the ball and cause the fumble.
Landry, however, is not a one trick pony and has exhibited some pass rush moves and uses his hands efficiently when shedding blocks. This play is an example of how Landry is able to shed the block with an efficient rip move.
Against the Run
Again, Harold Landry utilizes his athleticism and explosiveness against the running game, and that has proven to work for him more often than not.
He is most effective against run plays away from his side, or plays where the lineman needs to down block against him. Landry is just too quick and can easily breach the line before the linemen are able to get across his face to position themselves correctly and make the block.
In these plays Landry setups up the lineman, then takes a quick step inside to beat his man to get into the backfield:
When plays are run to his side, Landry can struggle to get off blocks and can easily get tossed aside. He lacks the size of a true defensive end in the NFL and teams will surely exploit that.
Final Thoughts on Harold Landry
Harold Landry is an interesting prospect, he isn’t quite built like a true defensive end but plays that role in college.
For now, it works in his favor because of his quickness and speed to get around the edge. However, NFL tackles will be ready and will not be beaten so easily. Landry will need to continue developing more pass-rush moves in order to keep linemen guessing. As a 4-3 defensive lineman, he will struggle against the run and will need to get bigger and stronger to stand up to NFL linemen.
Landry would have more success transitioning to a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. This way he can utilize his speed and quickness, and can still be that pass-rush specialist. Hopefully Boston College will allow Landry to showcase his versatility as both a 4-3 defensive end with his hand on the ground, and also as a 3-4 OLB standing up.