.NET Draft 2007: LSU S LaRon Landry

It's back to player previews and Seahawks.NET's Ryan Rigmaiden is set to take a look at the best safeties on the board for this April's NFL Draft. First up is LSU's LaRon Landry who would have been a first-rounder last year, but decided to return for his senior season. Where does Ryan project the playmaking safety from the Bayou to go? Read on to find out...

I had several concerns heading into training camp last year. One of which was at safety, where free safety Ken Hamlin was coming off of brain surgery, super-sub Marquand Manuel was in Green Bay and strong safety Michael Boulware just came off a terrible Super Bowl. Hamlin's health concerns went away almost immediately, but newly singed backup Mike Green didn't share the same fate. An ankle injury forced him to miss the entire season, taking away what was thought to be Seattle's security blanket at the position.

However, the biggest problem in the secondary was the play of Boulware. His rookie heroics made him an immediate star for the Seahawks, but his inconsistent play in deep coverage forced coaches to bench him for five games throughout the season. After riding the pine, Boulware was allowed to start vs. San Diego, only to give up another deep touchdown late in the 4th quarter.

It may be a different year for the Seahawks, but it'll definitely the same story when evaluating the safeties.

Hamlin is a free agent now and Boulware is a huge question mark. The coaches are hoping that last year was just a speed bump, but how long can they trust him when the game is on the line?

It seems players and fans both want Hamlin back, but it's well known that general manager Tim Ruskell puts a premium on character. Hamlin seemed to have shed the off-field problems he had while at Arkansas during his career in Seattle, but an altercation outside a night club that resulted in him being in critical condition in an area hospital may raise questions with Ruskell. Personally, I think he should be brought back, but I'm not running the team.

Green is capable of starting at either safety position, but coming off an injury is never easy. Versatile Jordan Babineaux saw time when Boulware was benched, but for as good as he is against the pass, his lack of tackling ability is a huge concern against the run. He's also a restricted free agent and could get offers from another club.

Safety is obviously a position of concern and adding a new player is a real possibility, especially if Hamlin is allowed to leave.

1. LaRon Landry, S LSU 6-1, 200 (4.5)

NFL Comparison - Darren Sharper, Minnesota

Overview -

Very experienced (4-year starter) and has tremendous instincts. Makes plays all over the field and is equally solid against the run and pass. 2006 All-American and would've been a first-round pick last year had he left. Hits hard, but can miss. Doesn't have great hands, but is adequate. Solid body and frame.

Against the Pass -

Reads routes correctly, almost as if he knows what the play is before the ball is snapped. Has great anticipation and makes plays on the ball, despite his lack of elite ball skills. Bats down a lot of passes, but needs to snatch them. Can cover most tight ends and running backs in man coverage, but is also a force in zone, making plays all over the field. Very, very smart football player.

Against the Run -

Disregards his own body to lay the boom on ball carriers. Throws himself into opposing players and doesn't shy away from contact. Sometimes doesn't wrap up and goes for the highlight hit. Solid open-field tackler and led LSU in tackles last season. Is always around the ball.

Roster Impact for Seattle -

Could start at strong safety, but because he has deep speed and great awareness, I think he's a better fit at free safety. Would be an upgrade over any safety currently on the roster and could start immediately. Landry will start as a rookie no matter what team takes him.

Draft Projection -

A first round lock- the only question is how high. He could go as high as 10 to Atlanta, but safeties tend to drop on draft day. Landry should be off the board by the 22nd pick.

Final Analysis -

Landry is going to be a fantastic NFL safety because he has the size, athleticism and passion to be great. His instincts and awareness are on an elite level, giving him an advantage over almost every other safety in the Draft. Landry's versatility also pushes him to the top of the board. He's not afraid to hit, but can also cover deep, in man or zone.

As usual, any questions or comments can be sent to rlrigmaiden@hotmail.com. Thanks for taking the time to write in.


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