It’s quite rare in draft circles when two receivers from the same college (LSU) in the same year get viewed as favorably as Odell Beckham Jr, and the subject of this article, Jarvis Landry. Landry is the technician to Beckham’s raw athleticism. The young receiver came in at 5’ 11 ½” 205 lbs. with 10 ¼” hands (anything over 10 inches is quite good) at the Combine, but got injured running his first 40 yard dash. He was never known for top end speed, but as a good, dependable route runner. I reviewed four of his 2013 games to get a good idea of what talents he brings to the NFL: TCU, Auburn, Arkansas, and Ole Miss.
The first thing I noticed watching Landry is that he has the same stance and the same explosion with every snap of the ball. Why is this important? Whoever is in coverage against him has no idea where he is going to go with his route. Too many college players and some NFL receivers give little clues and when a receiver hides it well, it deserves to be noticed. Landry lines up a lot in the slot, but also lines up on the line of scrimmage. He has quick feet and loose hips that he uses to get off the line quickly. When the receiver gets asked to block, he fires out and squares himself on his man. He is always looking for someone to hit when the ball isn’t designed to be in his hands.
Landry runs crisp routes that are usually crafted to get him open immediately. He runs those inside crossing patterns, and quick slants that seem to take defenses by surprise. These take advantage of his quickness and lateral agility as pure speed is not his game. Bubble screens are also some of his favorite routes as he loves to outmaneuver defenders in tight quarters. Chances are the receiver will not beat you deep, but he will out play and outwit his competition if you let him.
The receiver makes most of his receptions with tight, physical coverage on his hip. He seems to enjoy the contact and hand-fighting that are necessary to come down with the contested reception. I saw him catch the ball mid-air wrestling it out of the defender’s hands in every game I watched. It’s rare to see a receiver enjoy that part of the game. Landry also has as a mean stiff-arm that he uses to keep defenders off his body and keeps on churning his legs as the receiver keeps on fighting for extra yardage.
He does a good job of shielding the ball from the defender and enjoys adjusting to the ball mid-air. It’s that huge catch radius of his that makes him as dangerous as it is hard to defend him against the highest and lowest of throws. He fully extends his body to make the reception and catches the ball with the palms of his hands. I don’t recall ever seeing him use his body to secure the ball which is very impressive.
Watching him play, I was reminded of former Titan and Raven wide receiver Derrick Mason. It’s his smoothness, balance, and body control that make me think of Mason. He even tried to do a somersault off his head and kept on running with the ball. Landry tracks the ball well in the air and times his jumps to catch the ball at its highest point protecting it from defenders. Unlike most receivers, he keeps his eyes on the ball throughout the reception, until it is secure. If he can get to the ball in stride, Landry has a second and third gear that makes it difficult to stop him on his way to the end zone. Unfortunately, the receivers spends most of his time battling defenders up and down the field.
The former Tiger is full of tricks in the open field as he uses a spin move, makes sharp cuts, and tells a story with second and third moves to throw the defensive backs off. He fights to come back to the ball to help bail out his quarterback when he is under pressure. Landry understands coverage concepts and can sit down in the zone to wait for the ball or use the sidelines as an extra blocker to gain additional yardage.
While he might never be a superstar wide out, Landry is a precise, hard-working route runner who fights for the ball on every play. He should find a role on a pass first team as a WR2 or WR3. In most rookie drafts, owners will be clamoring for the size and speed guys, so take advantage and take Landry near the end of your second round or early third round.
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