Packers: Potential first-round targets in 2018 NFL Draft

GREENVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 16: Running back Tyshon Dye
GREENVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 16: Running back Tyshon Dye /
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The pick is… Harold Landry

And here is why. Landry has the best first step of all the players that rush the quarterback in this year’s draft class. He explodes off the snap and is a great speed rusher. He can play out of a two-point stance and with his hand in the dirt, from either edge. Again this gives DC Mike Pettine great flexibility in positioning his linebackers.

Landry isn’t an elite athlete but does have the one trait found in great pass rushers. At the combine he posted 6.88 in the 3-cone drill (tied for best in group). He showed he had recovered from his ankle injury running a respectable 4.64 40-time. He also showed, once again, that he was stronger than expectations knocking out 24 reps (fifth best among edge rushers).

His measurables coupled with a natural bend make him a nightmare coming off the  edge. Landry is a bit of a throwback size-wise at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds. However this could actually be an advantage. His dip puts him well below the reach of the behemoth offensive tackles in the NFL, and he turns the corner tight on his way to pressure the quarterback.

He also posses long arms he uses to bat down thrown balls. Landry does fair job of stacking and shedding blocks. He has heavy hands begging to be enhanced with technique and practice. Needs to develop his pass-rush tool box.

Landry has the speed to run down backs, is OK in coverage but any play he is not chasing the quarterback is a waste of his one elite skill set, rushing the passer. His monster numbers of 2016 (16.5 sacks, 22 tackles-for-loss and seven forced fumbles) show his potential (great strip sack specialist as well).

His disappointing 2017 totals (five sacks and 8.5 TFL in eight games) was due to playing injured and being game planned for. Since his ankle is better, as shown at combine, the game planning is the main concern.

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The good news is the talent that made college coaches game-plan for him on Saturdays will make NFL coaches game-plan for him on Sundays. One of the other knocks on Landry is that he needs a lane to blitz , which is covered by Pettine’s gap responsibility style of defense giving Landry the opportunity to be aggressive in his pressure.