We are just 12 weeks away from the start of a new Ohio State football season!
As we continue our player profile series while we countdown to kickoff, let’s evaluate a player that might be a favorite coming into the 2018 season.
Robert Landers is going to be in his fourth year at Ohio State and the redshirt junior should finally get a chance to start and play a good amount of football.
Because of how ridiculously stacked the Buckeyes have been along the defensive line the past couple seasons, Landers hasn’t had the opportunity to really show what he can do. When he has gotten on the field, he has put up some efficient numbers. With a total of 26 tackles at Ohio State, Landers has 12.5 tackles for loss and 1 sack, making that over 50% of tackles resulting in a loss for the opposing offense.
As a prospect, Landers is much better than what his numbers suggest. His measurements and athleticism are exactly what NFL teams are looking for in today’s game. Listed at 6’1” and 283 pounds, Landers is not the typical anchor that plays nose tackle, but his quickness is what makes him stand out. When watching film, the first thing you will notice is his explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. With one of the quickest first steps in all of college football, Landers has lived in the opposing backfield his entire career.
Against the run, Landers has been a disruptive force using his quickness to blow past offensive linemen off the ball. Once past the linemen, he has shown excellent awareness to break down and find the ball carrier to make the stop. One thing Landers can improve upon is dropping against double teams to limit being pushed back. Now that he will get the majority of snaps and he will face a high percentage of double teams, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts.
As a pass rusher, Landers is excellent and is exactly what the NFL is looking for in future interior defensive linemen. Using that quick first step and upper body strength, Landers has been able to beat one-on-ones with ease and with both athleticism and technique. Despite his lack of height, Landers has developed a devastating swim move because of his quickness. As Landers progresses, we can look forward to seeing what other techniques he can develop, most notably the use of his hands to keep offensive linemen from containing him.
To those outside of Ohio State, Landers has been a relative unknown but that will most likely change once the 2018 season commences. I truly believe Landers will start to skyrocket up NFL draft boards and could potentially be an early-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
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