Colt Scout: Derek Landri

Spiritual leader of the Irish defense is called undersized by some, but could be a big-time contributor for the right one-gap NFL team

Derek Landri
DT, Notre Dame

The numbers: 6024/288/4.93

2006 stats: 34 tackles, 31 assists, 15.5-90 tackles for loss, 7-53 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 4 blocked kicks

The player: While nobody argues with Landri's college production, effort, technique or intelligence, the general zeitgeist about him is that he's an exceptional college player with a limited pro future.

He certainly passes the eyeball test, and looks very good on film. He realized very early on that he wasn't going to overpower anyone with bulk and learned to use his sudden burst of the snap, excellent arm usage and textbook placement and pursuit angles to dominate. And dominate he did. He backed down from nobody and played his hardest every snap until the whistle. Landri's best moves were exploding low into bigger linemen, putting them off their stances. He has a knack for getting his hands up and timing his jumps, which resulted in eight pass deflections and four blocked kicks in his college career. Not only was he a consistent contributor, but Landri seemed to play his best when his team needed him.

Landri's small frame, forceful style of play and the wear and tear of the nose tackle position wore down on Landri and he suffered a litany of injuries in college. He may add weight, but he'll never have the frame to be a truly big man to play a two-gap system effectively. Conversely, he doesn't have the foot speed to be an edge rusher, so he's likely to stay inside, unless he goes to a 3-4 team.

Besides his qualities as a player, Landri is also a solid citizen and an on and off the field leader. Not only was he a player others looked up to and a coaches' favorite, but he also graduated early with a combined degree in history and computer applications.

Reminds me of: Although they look nothing alike, the best analogue I can find in the NFL for Landri is Rien Long. Long had ridiculous production in college, but questions about injury, weight and stamina kept him from being drafted until the fourth round in 2003. Although is a situational player with the Titans, he has had overall NFL production better than all but a couple of the ten defensive tackles drafted before him that year.

How he fits: The Colts are a good team for Landri, not just because they run an aggressive one-gap scheme, but because they rotate linemen regularly (especially inside), and place them in different spots. Landri's special-teams coach at Notre Dame was Colts president Bill Polian's son and Landri played very well for him. He is currently seen as a fifth-round draft pick.

(AP Photo)

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