Much has been written about the depth of the 2014 NFL draft. And it's true, this year's class is a deep one, especially at the wide receiver spot.
However, while much of this year's crop of wideouts has been lighting it up, jockeying for position on draft boards with jaw-dropping workout after jaw-dropping workout, at least one prospect no doubt wishes he could get a mulligan for the past several weeks.
Because Jarvis Landry of LSU has done nothing but cost himself money since the 2013 college football season ended.
Mind you, it wasn't that long ago that at least one prominent draftnik thought that Landry was the better of the pair of star LSU receivers entering the draft this year:
At the time, it was hardly an outrageous assertion.
Per CFB Stats
Both Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were very productive for the Tigers in 2013, with each player eclipsing 1,100 receiving yards. However, it was Landry who paced the team in receptions, yardage and, most importantly, touchdown catches.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports compared Landry to Eric Decker of the New York Jets. "Landry is more reliable with his hands and isn't quite as tall," Brugler said. "But he projects similar to Decker with their movements, body control and toughness after the catch."
Then January turned to February, the combine rolled around, and everything just sort of fell apart.
|Height||Weight||Bench||40 Time||Vert. Jump||Broad Jump|
By any objective measure, Landry's combine was an absolute disaster. First, he measured in at only 5'11", a full two inches shorter than his listed height at LSU.
Things went downhill from there.
Landry's 40-yard dash time and broad jump were the worst among wide receivers. His vertical leap was the second-worst. Landry pulled out of the position drills, citing a pulled hamstring, but as Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller pointed out at the time, the damage was done:
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
Still, one bad workout isn't going to make or break a career, and Landry pledged to be ready in time for LSU's pro day on Wednesday.
Yeah, about that:
Jarvis Landry dropped three to four passes today at LSU Pro Day, ran pair of 4.58s, rough day overall— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) April 9, 2014
Wilson wasn't the only pundit who was left unimpressed by Landry's workout at the pro day:
Jarvis Landry did not improve much over combine. 40- 4.62, 30.5 VJ, 7.55- 3-cone, 9'5- LJ. Poor numbers - see him dropping out of 1st 2 rds.— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) April 9, 2014
Yes, Landry improved on his numbers from Indy, but only slightly. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN, the difference in speed between Landry and Beckham was glaring from up close:
Watching Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham get in and out of their breaks, you can see the stark contrast in speed up close.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 9, 2014
There's no other way to really say it. Landry's workouts, both in Indianapolis and Baton Rouge, were something of a hot mess.
Even so, many draftniks, including Emory Hunt, think these bad workouts are essentially much ado about nothing:
When you can catch the football like Jarvis Landry, you're always open regardless of your speed.— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) April 9, 2014
In many respects, Hunt has a point.
It's not like Landry was a blazing speedster for the Tigers whose quickness suddenly evaporated. The 196-pounder didn't win battles against SEC defensive backs all season long in 2013 by being faster.
He did it with good route-running, soft hands and physicality. As Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com wrote, Landry is a "Polished, quarterback-friendly, sure-handed possession receiver with a flare for the highlight-reel catch."
Landry's drops on Wednesday aside, those traits didn't just disappear.
That doesn't mean the workouts weren't costly, though, and in more ways than one.
This year's deep wide receiver class may be a boon to NFL teams, but it's something of a double-edged sword for the players themselves. There are only so many early picks to go around.
What round should Jarvis Landry be drafted in?
Not only does Landry now find himself mired in a large group of potential Day 2 wide receiver picks, but he's jockeying with players like Allen Robinson of Penn State and Cody Latimer of Indiana, who not only had similar production in college, but who are also coming off great workouts.
Is it the end of the world? Of course not. Landry is going to get his chance to play wide receiver in the NFL, and the willingness to do what's asked of him at the pro level he displayed at the combine (per Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Advocate) will no doubt appeal to many NFL teams.
“I’m going to play special teams, I’m (hard to bring down) across the middle," Landry said. “I’m going to block linebackers, safeties ... (and do) just the little things that people forget.”
With that said, former NFL GM Bill Polian also said of Landry's struggles in Indy, "A 4.77 is not going to cut it, but I am presuming Jarvis is going to do better at his Pro Day.”
Unfortunately, Landry didn't, and the days of being considered as possibly going before Beckham are all but certainly gone.
The only question now is whether Landry's chances of being drafted before May 10 went with them.