The Washington Redskins selected LaRon Landry with the sixth overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. The athletic safety became the second pick in the first six from Louisiana State, and joins Sean Taylor to form what could become a formidable tandem.
Washington used nearly their entire fifteen minute allotment, as they tried to parlay their selection into an extra first day pick. With just under four minutes to go, the Redskins were reported to be on the phone with Landry and informing him of his selection. Even then, the draft clock ran into the final minute before switching to Minnesota and the seventh pick. Dealing down is a difficult proposition these days, and in the end, Washington had to live with the fact that they would not be selecting again until round five.
Landry was rated as the top defensive prospect in the entire draft by Mel Kiper. He is truly a complete package; great in man-coverage, great in zone coverage; and great inside the box. Like his new teammate Taylor, he’s also a powerful hitter with a nose for the ball.
LaRon had a phenomenal career at LSU. He started ten games in his freshman season (2003), and led the team with 80 tackles (54 solo). He also had three sacks, two interceptions, seven quarterback pressures, four pass deflections and a blocked kick. He was also named to the All-SEC second team, and was a Freshman All-American.
Landry went on to be a four year starter, and started an impressive 48 games (53 total games). His 315 tackles (195 solo) are the seventh highest total in school history. His twelve interceptions are the third highest total. This year he was a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in college football, and he drew All-American first-team honors from the Associated Press, The NFL Draft Report, and the American Football Coaches Association.
He represents the new type of safety, the hybrid safety. He amazed NFL scouts with his ability to play either safety position and cover anyone that an offense threw at him.
Landry draws comparisons to current players like Brian Dawkins and Ed Reed, but grew up idolizing hall-of-famer Ronnie Lott, “I liked his style of play. He’s physical and very tough.” He may not hit like Dawkins just yet, but it’s his ability to read the game that likely garners the comparisons. Landry called the defensive plays for the Tigers and helped other players be in position to make plays.
In his post-pick press conference, Joe Gibbs described Landry as, “Very, very aggressive, and a very good tackler.” Gibbs said of the pick itself that, “You need to pick someone that you feel is going to play for a long time, and have a chance to do some outstanding things for you.”
Landry’s brother Dawan plays for the Baltimore Ravens. He was drafted last year in the fifth round, but started fourteen of sixteen games in his rookie season on one of the league’s best defenses. Gibbs said that they called the Ravens for an opinion, “We called the coaches up there and they said they’d be surprised if the apple fell pretty far from the tree. LaRon has a strong background to lean on.”
Gregg Williams has to love the pick. His defense has all kinds of different looks and alignments, and Landry’s considerable skills make him very versatile. He can not only play any position in the secondary, but he even played linebacker in some LSU nickel packages.
Together with Sean Taylor, LaRon Landry will hopefully form the most dynamic safety tandem in football.
With Landry’s selection, the Redskins failed to address what many feel was their biggest need. Unless some kind of trade can be reached, Washington don’t have another selection until the fifth round. The Redskins will be hard-pressed to improve upon the guys that they got last season in the same situation – Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston. While they both performed well for rookies, it wouldn’t be a ‘need’ position if they were ideal.
Washington was hit with major injuries on the defensive line last season. Phillip Daniels, Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave’a all missed significant time, and all failed to reach previous levels of success. They are still arguably the Redskins’ best options at their respective positions. The Redskins need to improve at either, or both defensive tackle and defensive end before training camp starts. Their opportunities for doing so are growing fewer.
Through twenty-five picks of the first round, and at the time of posting, there were still some solid defensive tackle prospects still available like Alan Branch, Tank Tyler, and Ray McDonald. If the trend continues, the Redskins would be wise to try and swing a deal involving next year’s second or third round pick.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway