The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Boston College defensive end Harold Landry.
Senior | 6’3″ and 252 Pounds | Born June 5, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 1-2
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.64 sec | bench reps: 24 | 3-cone: 6.88 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.19 sec | vertical: 36 in | broad: 119 in
The Eagles and Broncos in recent years have demonstrated how to counter high-powered offenses: Have big and scary edge rushers. Landry has the look and upside of a twitchy defensive end with an annual upside of double-digit sacks. An injury-shortened senior season didn’t help his stock coming off a record-breaking 2016 campaign, but Landry’s performance at the combine in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle confirmed his high-level bend and athleticism that is apparent on tape. He could become Boston College’s first defensive end drafted in Round 1 since Mathias Kiwanuka in 2006.
Landry’s 17.5 combined tackles for a loss in 2014-15 demonstrated his ability to generate game-changing plays, but he elevated his performance as a junior. The first-team All-ACC defensive end led the nation with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles while ranking fifth with 22 tackles for a loss. Landry is poised to become just the seventh defensive lineman drafted in the first round with a 3-cone time under 6.9 seconds (Pro Football Focus), and he boasts arguably the best single-season run of dominance among the group.
- Landry (2016): 16.5 sacks, 22 TFL
- T.J. Watt (2016): 11.5 sacks, 15.5 TFL
- Joey Bosa (2014): 13.5 sacks, 21.5 TFL
- Melvin Ingram (2011): 10 sacks, 15 TFL
- J.J. Watt (2010): 7 sacks, 21 TFL
- DeMarcus Ware (2004): 10.5 sacks, 19 TFL
- David Pollack (2002): 14 sacks, 23.5 TFL
Unfortunately, Landry may have cost himself money by not declaring for the draft after last season. He totaled just five sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss as a senior in eight games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Still, Landry demonstrated more than enough dominance as a junior to earn plenty of Day 1 selection hype in 2018, and the film indicates the hype is warranted.
Among potential first-round picks, Landry is rivaled only by by Arden Key in his ability to bend the edge and affect quarterbacks. He didn’t lose many races with offensive tackles to the quarterback’s drop point.
At his most disruptive, Landry combines an elite first step and flexibility with the power to work through the opposition and into the quarterback’s lap. Still, these flashes have been few and far between, as Landry typically relied on his athleticism and nose for the ball more than a technique-driven pass-rushing approach. With an inside counter and more consistent push, Landry could be the league’s next dominator off the edge. Coaches can’t teach his explosion around the tackle, and his ceiling rivals that of any other defender in this class given his career production and athletic gifts.
Landry’s performance at the combine helped boost his stock, but it’s still unclear if the league views him as a prospect worthy of a Day 1 selection. By April, however, he will probably have significant top-20 hype, as big-bodied defensive ends with burst and the ability to bend at the hips are hard to find. It’s been less than 24 months since we last saw Landry dominate college football on a weekly basis, and high-upside players typically win out in the early parts of the draft. It might take a few seasons of technique refinement before Landry has a chance to turn into a complete game-wrecker, but he might be capable of helping a good defensive line become great in a manner similar to that of Eagles’ 2016 first-round pass-rushing specialist Derek Barnett.
Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports