It is no secret that getting after the quarterback is the recipe for winning Super Bowls in today’s game of the NFL. Despite all of the scouting and analytics being done by teams looking to gain an advantage or even a step-up, teams that are set up to knock around the quarterback reap more rewards in takeaways and shorter fields.
The last five Super Bowls have been won by the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Patriots, and the Seattle Seahawks. Those teams all contained stud pass rushers like Brandon Graham, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Michael Bennett just to name a few.
Unlike many years prior, the Dallas Cowboys were able to generate a decent pass rush last year. It was not the best in the NFL, but Demarcus Lawrence and David Irving rose to the occasion in 2017. Knowing their importance to the defense and their future outlook, the Cowboys used the franchise tag on Lawrence and place a second-round tender on Irving.
Dallas’ defensive line should continue to improve in 2018. There is a glimmer of hope that maybe even Randy Gregory can get his name back into contention among the group. More depth in the trenches could move Maliek Collins back into a role he is more familiar with. Tyrone Crawford is a steady player. Charles Tapper may be able to play a role if he can stay healthy. And hey, perhaps even Kony Ealy can be of use if the Cowboys end up signing him.
Despite all of this, defensive lines go through a lot of turnover season to season and it would not be a bad idea at all if the Cowboys use a premium draft pick on the position. One prospect that could be a good fit is Harold Landry from Boston College.
What does Landry do well?
With long arms to go along with unbelievable quickness off the football, Landry has the potential to be a special player at the next level. He operates extremely efficiently in space and plays with excellent bend to get around tackles and disrupt the quarterback. He plays with a high motor, relentlessly chasing ball-carriers and looking to create takeaways.
His hands are extremely strong and he is violent with them when he uses them efficiently. With a variety of pass-rushing moves, Landry lined up at both ends and still produced. Despite facing double teams and having offensive lines focus on shutting him down, Landry still performed and made his impact felt.
At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Landry fits right near the criteria what the Cowboys look for in their defensive ends. Don’t believe me? Lawrence weighs in at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds. Crawford weighs in at 6-foot-4, 290 pounds. Taco Charlton weighs in at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds. Once he joins an NFL training regiment, his weight will be upped, correlating more with what Dallas desires out of defensive end prospects.
Last few days of talking to people and hearing Minkah Fitzpatrick is going too early in these media mock drafts, and Harold Landry is going too late.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 30, 2018
What does Landry struggle with?
There were issues with Landry staying healthy in 2017. On top of that, his frame is somewhat small and he won more at the collegiate level due to the nature of his athleticism and finesse rather than power. At the NFL level, he will need play more downhill against offensive lineman that are more athletic.
Landry will likely not produce immediately at the next level. He will need to be coached up to improve his technique and learn newer moves that will make him more complete and prepared for being an every-down player in the NFL. Going off that, he can get pushed off the line of scrimmage against the run.
He will need to harness his athleticism and develop into more of a playing style. He will not be able to get by with his traits in the NFL, but the intangibles are there for him to become special.
Pros of the Cowboys drafting him
By drafting another defensive lineman, the Cowboys could benefit from using an array of pass rushers on throwing downs. Last year, there were times where if Lawrence was shut down by opposing offensive lines, the defense would be exposed. Charlton showed signs of breaking out towards the end of last season.
Because Lawrence, Irving, Crawford, and Charlton are already in the fold, the Cowboys will likely look elsewhere rather than using a draft pick on a defensive end. But the Broncos used a first-round pick on Shane Ray despite having Ware and Miller. The Eagles also used a first-round pick on Derek Barnett despite having Fletcher Cox and Graham. Again, teams that win boast dynamic pass-rushing attacks. Adding Landry and developing him could prove huge dividends for this franchise.
Cowboys doing most of their Top 30 visits this week. Headed to Dallas: UCLA OL Kolton Miller, Alabama WR Calvin Ridley, LB Rashaan Evans and DL Da'Ron Payne, Washington DL Vita Vea, Iowa OL James Daniels, Maryland WR DJ Moore, Florida DL Taven Bryan and BC DE Harold Landry.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 2, 2018
Cons of the Cowboys drafting him
The main con here is that he might not be a starter off the bat. Landry has a lot of potential and could be a real good player in the NFL, but he needs tutelage and NFL game seasoning. Dallas has question marks across the roster and rather than adding somewhat of a project in Landry, they may serve better by adding an immediate starter like Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn, UTEP’s Will Hernandez, or Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne.
There is also a potential long-term issue if there is a change in coaching staffs. There has to be pressure for Jason Garrett and his staff to reach the playoffs and make noise. If Garrett has another season like last year, this coaching staff could be gone and it could severely hurt the progression of a player in development like Landry will likely be in.
Should the Cowboys use the 19th overall pick on Harold Landry?
Would you draft Landry? Tell us why you would or would not in the comments section.