One of the real under-the-radar- signings for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason was Derek Landri. With 8 sacks in six seasons, he hasn't exactly been dominant -- but he's currently the most likely backup to Gerald McCoy, although he might be a better fit at nose tackle. Landri had an awful 2012 season, along with the entire Eagles defense. So is there any reason to believe he'll be any good for the Bucs this year?
Enter Pro Football Focus, who graded his 2011 season as the 20th best season for a defensive tackle they've ever graded. Gerald McCoy's 2012 season, by the way, is the fourth best season on that list.
20. Derek Landri, 2011, PHI: +21.4
Pass Rushing: +8.7, Run Defense: +12.7, Penalties: +12.7
How incredible was the 2011 season of Landri? Well his grade was earned on just 355 snaps as he made himself a more prominent member of the Eagles defensive line rotation than anyone could have imagined. A force in the run game (he picked up a defensive stop on 9.7% of his plays here) and an extremely productive pass rusher (he had the third highest Pass Rushing Productivity score), Landri took full advantage of the playing time afforded to him.
Who's the real Landri, then? The guy who struggled in every facet of the game in 2012 on an admittedly awful defense, or the man who played very well in limited time in 2011? The Eagles did have issues across their entire defense last year, exacerbated by internal strife within the defensive coaching staff, mid-season changes and more shenanigans. But that doesn't mean the 2012 season didn't happen for Landri: he played poorly for a full year.
We've heard this before, but it's a good reminder that Landri really could play a major role for the Buccaneers this season. And really, he may have to. The Bucs don't have any quality backups behind Gerald McCoy, where the most likely candidates consist of defensive ends who could maybe play defensive tackle. Except for Derek Landri.
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are forced to miss McCoy for any time, Landri could be thrust into the starting lineup and he'll have to show that he's not the defensive tackle we saw in 2012, but the one we saw in 2011.