Jarvis Landry did not medal at the "Underwear Olympics."
Landry was one of the 48 receiver prospects invited to Indianapolis for the NFL combine this weekend. He left Lucas Oil Stadium as the most underwhelming performer considering his second-round draft grade.
Landry posted the shortest broad jump, second lowest vertical leap and slowest 40-yard dash of all the receivers. He injured his hamstring during his first 40-yard dash attempt. Bleacher Report's NFL Draft Lead Analyst Matt Miller says some will believe Landry faked the injury to mask a bad performance.
Right hamstring injury for Jarvis Landry. That means throw out his first 40 time for most teams. Some will keep it and be cynical of injury— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 23, 2014
But football is played in pads, not tights. Landry looks like he is ready to play on Sundays based on film, and that is what matters.
NFL teams knew heading into the combine Landry would not blow anybody away. His testing was putrid, but that can easily change on LSU's upcoming pro day in early April.
Landry's game at LSU was never about athleticism. He never had a reception over 45 yards in college.
LSU, under Les Miles, has produced some solid NFL receivers. But not one of them produced a college season as prolific as Landry's in 2013. His 77 receptions, 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns was nothing short of remarkable.
But Landry is more than just numbers.
The Lutcher, La. native was a clutch-catch machine, leading the SEC by a sizable margin in receptions, yards and touchdowns on third down. His natural feel of the game is unprecedented, always finding creative and effective ways to make plays.
Landry made catches of the highest difficulty, highlighted by one-handed snares and fearlessness over the middle. He understands coverages, knowing how to create separation against man coverage and where the soft spots in zones are located. NFL Network's Mike Mayock compared him to Steelers great Hines Ward, who was known for his blocking as much as his receiving.
Landry was an ace special teamer as a freshman. He says he is willing to do whatever NFL teams ask him to do.
“I’m going to play special teams, I’m (hard to bring down) across the middle,” Landry told reporters in Indianapolis (via The Advocate). “I’m going to block linebackers, safeties ... (and do) just the little things that people forget.”
Landry's a partner in crime was Odell Beckham Jr., who captured the imagination of scouts everywhere after his dominant combine performance.
Beckham Jr. blazed a 4.43 40-yard dash, dazzling those with his fluidity in every drill he participated. But that was expected.
The duo were so close at LSU, Beckham Jr. called Landry a brother at the combine. By looking at their measurements alone, they could be mistaken for twins.
|Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. NFL Combine Measurements|
|Landry||5'11''||205 lbs.||10 1/4''||31 3/4''|
|Beckham Jr.||5'11''||198 lbs.||10''||32 3/4''|
Despite near-identical body frames, Beckham Jr. blew Landry out of the water in drills. But what is not being mentioned now is what actually transpired in actual games.
Beckham Jr., like Landry, eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. They were the first duo to do so in LSU history. But a closer examination shows Landry's season was slightly better.
Landry had two more touchdowns and 18 more receptions, albeit a lower yards-per-reception average, than Beckham Jr. in 2013. All five of Landry's 100-yard games came against BCS opponents, where Beckham Jr. only had three.
Granted, Beckham Jr. left LSU's last conference game against Arkansas with an injury, but his absence proved the greatness of Landry even more.
That game alone proves Landry was not a byproduct of Beckham Jr. drawing coverage. They both needed each other equally.
Landry does need to get bigger and faster for the NFL. There will be a transition period for him. When he came to LSU as a blue-chip prospect, it took him until his junior season to become dominant.
Landry could easily drop to the third round in a deep, athletic receiver class. With that said, dismissing him after a poor performance at the NFL combine would be a massive mistake. Even if he has a poor showing at LSU's pro day, teams should not push the panic button.
Landry might not have made the podium at the 2014 Underwear Olympic games in Indianapolis. But whoever drafts him in May will strike gold.
Follow me on Twitter @CarterthePower.
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