The Buccaneers may still be in the market for a pass rusher despite adding two starters to the line via free agency. Some options were highlighted in my earlier piece on the 1st round options along the defensive line but one player from this list has earned a spotlight on himself and that player is Harold Landry. Landry is the top pass rusher in this draft class and it isn’t that close. Landry has a unique build of speed, agility, change of direction and bend that no other pass rusher possesses in this draft class. Let’s take a look at some quick clips to highlight Landry’s skill set in action.
Get off, dip, bend and balance. A pass rushers toolbox for success.
Harold Landry bends and balances so incredibly well that it honestly hasn’t been fair the last two seasons (despite an injury riddled 2017 at that) for college tackles. Below you will see Landry win right off the snap and get to the edge, dip/bend and turn the corner to the quarterback.
The right tackle above has zero chance from the beginning as Landry’s get off immediately puts him out of position. The tackle has to lunge at which point Landry simply dips, maintains balance and reaches the quarterback for the sack. As a Bucs fan, ask yourself this, when is the last time the team had someone explode off the edge like this? Let’s take a look here as Landry disrespects the Clemson offensive line and makes the pocket his own home.
Landry again wins immediately off the snap with his speed and bends around the edge. Landry is able to immediately get back to full throttle and slips right past the guard coming in late to help and goes for the quarterbacks arm, causing the sack fumble. The athleticism in these two clips separate Landry from the other edge rushers in terms of pass rush ability.
Speed to power and use of leverage.
If there’s one area of Landry’s game that is in question, it’s his ability to convert his electric get off into some raw power. Against the run this has been a struggle for him at times but when he needs to drive a tackle back, Landry has shown the ability to do so. Just as important as converting the speed to power and engaging up close with a tackle is having the ability to shed the block and make a play. Landry in the clip below shows exactly that as he drives the tackle rearward and slips the block to make the stop.
Landry uses a great first step and attack angle to get into the body of Tyrell Smith in this clip and utilizes his lower half strength to push Smith back into the pocket. Landry does a good job controlling the tackles body and is able to extend and shed at the right moment to make the stop.
In this next clip below you will see Landry set the edge against the run by pushing the tackle out of his lane and maintaining posture to stand up the tackles second attempt at blocking on the play.
Athleticism and field awareness
Landry is best known for his athletic prowess coming off the edge. Landry has shown the ability to play in space and keep his eyes on the ball. Many times you will see players come off the edge and seem unable to adjust to defend and bat down passes or redirect their momentum to bounce outside to make a stop in the flats. These are not issues for Landry and the two clips below further display the natural athleticism he possesses.
In the above clip, Landry’s initial reaction to the snap is a pass rush move, the moment he realizes he won’t be getting into the backfield he maintains his engagement then at the last second separates and elevates with both hands to knock down the pass. Just because he couldn’t create pressure in the backfield doesn’t mean the play is lost, field awareness like he shows here will allow more plays to be made.
The next clip is from the 2018 NFL Draft Combine where Landry destroyed the 3-cone drill to the tune of a 6.88 second clip. On display here is exceptional explosiveness and change of direction ability, both of which are verified as field transferable in his game film. Landry plays up to every bit of his tested athleticism.
All in all, the more I delve into the pass rushers in this 2018 NFL Draft the more I realize how superior an edge pass rusher Harold Landry is than the next best, Bradley Chubb. Chubb is a more prototypical and well rounded 4-3 defensive end, but Harold Landry will in all likelihood end up the better sack artist in the league. For a team like the Buccaneers that ran multiple fronts a good bit last season, Landry would arguably make more sense than Bradley Chubb at the 7th overall pick for the Buccaneers who could have themselves a heck of a chess piece in Landry.