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Harold Landry has the kind of pass rushing ability that’s impossible to ignore

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Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White says Landy’s a natural pass rusher who could get even better with the right approach.

Virginia Tech v Boston College Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Harold Landry is all about his speed rushes.

I mean I wouldn’t exactly expect a guy who is 6’3 and 250 pounds to be using a lot of power rushes anyway. With Landry, however, he relied heavily on his ability to run around offensive tackles in the four games that I watched.

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing since he was pretty damn good at it, but you usually can’t win that often with speed alone in the NFL.

What I saw that I liked out of his speed rushes were excellent get-offs, good flexibility to duck under the tackle’s punch and lean into the turn, and a really good burst to finish at the quarterback.

What I didn’t see on most of those speed rushes was Landry using his hands to keep the tackles’ hands off of him.

There were so many times where Landry had a good speed rush going, but the tackle would end up pushing him just past the level of the quarterback.

That was OK when Landry was able to force the quarterback to step up into the arms of his teammates.

It was a disaster, however, when there was nobody for the quarterback to step into.

It was frustrating because Landry would do everything well except use his hands, and it kept coming back to bite him.

But it was also encouraging from a draft evaluation standpoint because even though it’s obvious on tape Landry has a knack for rushing the passer, knowing that if he can learn to use his hands better he can be an even more effective pass rusher pushes his ceiling a little higher.

If Landry can add a swiper move to that get-off, bend and burst, he will give offensive tackles hell once he gets to the league.

And to be clear Landry did use a few other moves as well, like the long arm that ended with him tossing an offensive tackle on their ass and into the quarterback’s legs.

He would also mix in an occasional bull rush to keep the blockers honest.

But there is no denying that the dip-and-rip was his bread and butter.

He needs a little more variety in his moves to really take his pass rushing to the next level.

And he especially needs to develop a reliable counter to his speed rush. With his athleticism, I’d recommend a spin move, but that’s just me.

Landry isn’t all that big, he was very physical ... when he wanted to be.

That goes for when he was rushing the passer and when he was playing the run.

Opposing offenses ran a lot of option and counter looks at Landry, so most of the time he was either unblocked against the run or he was having to spill a backside puller.

But when he had to take on offensive linemen mano a mano, he held up surprisingly well most of the time.

It seemed like he picked his spots.

One minute I would watch Landry come off and get good extension with his arms on a blocker, snatch them to the side, and get off the block and try to make a play.

The next minute I would watch him just stand there being stuck on a blocker when, if previous play was any indication, Landry could have easily escaped off of the block.

I don’t know if he was tired, if he didn’t know where the ball was or what, but I saw a few too many of these plays where it just didn’t seem like Landry was in a hurry to get to the ball.

I feel like if I see a guy bust his ass on one play, then I expect at least a reasonable facsimile of that effort on every play when he is out there.

Don’t get me wrong, Landry was a pretty productive player in those four games, but there were still several plays that I thought he could’ve made if he just gave a better effort.

Plays where he was loafing until he saw the ball carrier still wasn’t tackled, then he tried to speed up and ended up missing the tackle his damn self.

Other plays where the ball squirted out where Landry maybe would’ve had a chance at the recovery had he hustled all the way through.

If you have read my stuff before, you know how I feel about hustle. It’s because it doesn’t take hardly any talent to bust your ass, and for a guy with Landry’s physical gifts, there is no telling how many extra plays he could’ve made with just a little bit of extra effort.

I was a little disappointed in his motor because I didn’t feel it was consistent and it cost he and his team plays that he could’ve made, but didn’t. That doesn’t erase the fact that this kid is still a hell of a player. I’ve said my piece on it and I do hope his hustle gets a little more consistent in the pros. Still ...

Landry has the kind of pass rush ability that is simply impossible to ignore.

He is almost prototypical size for a rush outside linebacker in a base 3-4 defense. Boston College had him drop a few times. Landry looked pretty natural doing that as well, so I don’t think he would have any trouble handling some coverage responsibilities in the NFL.

He would certainly also fit well in an attacking style base 4-3 as defensive end as well. I didn’t ever see him look physically overwhelmed by offensive linemen, even when he was lined up down the middle of them so there shouldn’t be any issues with him as a run defender as long as he is out on the edge and not two-gapping anybody other than a tight end.

Landry was most effective as a pass rusher when he came off the left edge, so I would expect which ever team eventually drafts him to he line up over there most of the time.

I would.

Every team could use another guy who can rush the passer, trust me. And if Landry starts using his hands more he is going to be a monster in the league.

Right now I would rank him third of the three edge rushers (including him) I have broken down so far this spring, but he is a different kind of edge rusher than Bradley Chubb and Marcus Davenport, who are both bigger guys. While Landry isn’t as position flexible as those two, he is a first-round talent in his own right. If there is a run on edge rushers early on, don’t be surprised to see see Landry going relatively high on the first night of the draft.


Since I don’t have access to all-22 for college football games, I use the next best thing for my draft profiles and go to Draft Breakdown where they post the TV copy of a bunch of top prospects’ games already cut up and ready to go. This time Draft Breakdown only had two of Harold Landry’s games from last season on their website, so I had to use Google to find two more. For the purposes of this breakdown I watched Landry play against Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. Those represented the second, third, fourth, and sixth games on Boston Colleges schedule last season, respectively.