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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

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Could Harold Landry be the speed rusher the Giants have lacked?

NCAA Football: Boston College at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College’s Harold Landry entered the 2017 season as one of the most heralded edge rushers in the nation, an equal to likely top-5 pick Bradley Chubb. At the time, they were two sides of the same coin: Chubb the traditional powerful 4-3 end, Landry the more new-age speed rusher.

However, an injury-plagued and disappointing 2017 season took Landry off the national radar until the draft process rolled around. He was invited to the Senior Bowl, but the same ankle injury that shortened his senior season kept him from competing in Mobile Ala.

Finally healthy for the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, Landry was able to remind everyone just how dynamic an athlete he truly is, and he is back in the conversation as a potential difference-making pass rusher.

That is something the New York Giants could use after a similarly disappointing and injury-plagued 2017 season. Are the two a match?

Measurables

Pros

  • Explosive first step. Can be across the line of scrimmage before an offensive tackle can react.
  • Good agility and an impressive agility to bend around the edge and flatten to the quarterback.
  • Solid hand usage. Uses a variety of speed rush moves.
  • Capable of upping level of play in high leverage situations.
  • Good awareness of the play. Intercepted a ball after dealing with a cut block on an attempted screen pass against Maryland in 2016.
  • Rushes off both the left and right edges.
  • Incredibly productive when healthy. 110 tackles, 38 tackles for a loss, 20 sacks, and 10 forced fumbles in 2015 and 2016, combined.

Cons

  • Needs to play with more power.
  • Frame doesn’t have much room to add mass without compromising athleticism.
  • Might need to change position to rush linebacker in the NFL.
  • Isn’t much of a factor in the run game.
  • Health is a question after an injury-plagued 2017.

Prospect video

What they’re saying

Sources Tell Us

”He’s just like (Vic) Beasley coming out with the way he comes off the snap. You remember how Beasley struggled early because he had to learn to be a pass rusher and not just a sprinter? I think Landry might be the same early on. When he puts it together, he’ll do what Beasley did.” -- NFC team pro personnel director

-via NFL.com

Final thoughts

NFL teams have to decide which player they are getting in Landry. The dominant edge defender who wreaked havoc on the ACC in 2016 to the tune of 22 tackles for a loss, 16.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 4 passes defensed, or the ineffective version hobbled by injury we saw in 2017?

Landry’s impressive Combine workout, which saw him post elite numbers in the 3-cone drill, short shuttle, and 10-yard split, as well as solid numbers in the broad and vertical jumps, all of which indicate a top-flight edge rusher. As well, he not only looked impressive in the defensive line drills, he looked fluid and natural in the linebacker drills certain EDGE players are requested to perform.

He has all the speed to be an “Osi Umenyiora” type pass rusher, and is similarly labeled as a “one trick pony,” but his trick is a good one and one for which the NFL is hungry. If he can add an element of power to his game, Landry might be able to make the jump from dangerous to dominant.

Needs at other areas (offensive line specifically) might keep the Giants from selecting Landry when he is available, but his upside and scheme versatility would make him an intriguing fit in James Bettcher’s defense. The Giants have hinted that their front could resemble the Denver Broncos aggressive one-gapping, 3-4 Under front -- which is essentially a 5-2 front with a hyper-athletic rush linebacker on the line of scrimmage on either side of a 3-man defensive line. Landry showed the ability to play in space at the Combine, as well as some on tape, which would give the defense added versatility in blitz design.

The bigger question might be whether or not he will last until the Giants pick in the second round, and if he does, will they be able to pick him?