Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
The defensive end from Boston College, Harold Landry, is this year’s rookie to own at the defensive end position. His main competition for the title came from consensus top-10 pick Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State. Bradley Chubb is a monstrous man that was a terror for offenses this past season. However, I believe that Harold Landry will provide the biggest impact in both the fantasy world and when it comes to in game production. In 2016, when Landry played a full season and was continuously healthy he was a tremendous asset for the Boston College defense. He collected 50 tackles (a good number for a DE), 22 TFL (which is amazing), and 16.5 sacks (which is unbelievable). He did all of this in just 12 games. 12 games are all it took for him to collect 16.5 sacks. I expect Landry to put up good numbers his rookie season and he will only get better as time goes on.
Landry has great speed from the edge and his bend is impressive as well. He will be able to use his skills to get around offensive tackles in the NFL quickly and cleanly. Landry’s greatest asset is his speed around the edge and it is what will be his primary tool as he takes over the NFL. But as he gains experience and can better fully use his full tool set he will become one of the most feared pass rushers in the league. Landry is not without his weaknesses however. He does not get his hands involved enough and this allows him to be knocked around a little when he is cleanly engaged by stronger and more powerful opponents. For him to live up to his full potential he will have to learn to use his hands better. With all this being said, I do believe that with NFL coaching and NFL game experience Landry will be able to fully utilize his skill set and turn into a tremendous defensive end. Landry will turn into a top 5 defensive end in the NFL by the time he has finished his second year in the league.
Turning our attention to more fantasy-oriented discussion now, it is my belief that Landry has the ability to come in this year and make an impact worthy of a high end DE2 or low end DE1. What kind of impact he makes, his floor or his ceiling, will depend upon his landing spot. He could see himself go to a team that has 2 decent starters and plays a rotational, next-man-up role or he could go to a team with only one or even no decent starters. His long-term impact will also depend on the landing spot as him becoming a top fantasy player at his position will depend upon if his coaches can get the best out of him.
A spot he could land in that would end with him in his floor range would be Cleveland, who could conceivably draft a DE, but with Myles Garret already there and other solid pieces around him would block him for a year or two before being a full-blown starter (not to mention the less than stellar coaching staff). One of the best landing spots for him would be the Detroit Lions. The Lions only have Ziggy Ansah as a solidified starting defensive end and even he is not always reliable as he has had his share of injury issues in the past. In addition to this the Lions also have their coaching staff, which features Matt Patricia and Landry’s college defensive line coach. With Patricia and Landry’s college coach working together it would bring a blend of knowledge of Landry’s playing style and Patricia’s creative coaching that would bring out the best possible Harold Landry. If Harold Landry went to the Lions that should immediately excite every fantasy owner who owns him in their leagues.
Regardless of where Landry ends up he will be the best defensive end to come out of this draft for both the fantasy realm of things and the in-game production. Landry’s unique blend of speed and bend will automatically allow for him to be successful in the NFL. And when his coaches have bettered his ability to use his hands to the fullest extent he will be nearly unstoppable. Landry will become a DE1 in all dynasty formats over time and most likely sooner rather than later. Landry will be my number one target at the defensive end position in all rookie drafts this year. Take him and don’t look back.
Brenden Armour - @b_armour70