LA Rams 2021 NFL Draft : Mock Draft 1.1
Nate Landman, linebacker Colorado
Once again I have the Rams going linebacker. It’s the team’s main issue on defense and it needs to get fixed. Linebacker Nate Landman is similar to Paddy Fisher. He is also a big linebacker at 6-foot- 3 and weighs 235 pounds. Also like Fisher, he is fast for his size. While he might not have sideline to sideline speed he can get to any space between the numbers.
Landman, also like Fisher, will also use his size to cover up shallow throwing lanes. He is as dependable as a linebacker can be in zone coverage.
Where Landman differs from Fisher is his style of run defense. Where Fisher usually plays with patience Landman plays with a lot more tenacity. He is a violent hitter who loves to punish the ball carrier. He plays without abandonment and it’s hard to gain yards after contact on him. Where Fisher can have issues with blocks Landman won’t.
However, Landman doesn’t produce turnovers on the same level Fisher does. While a lot of draft profiles have Landman as a two-down linebacker who will spend most of his time as a core special team player, I believe this is wrong and that he is undervalued.
Other draft profiles have negatives I don’t see. Some knock his athleticism, specifically his lateral movement and coverage ability. I disagree on both points. He doesn’t excel at either but they also aren’t negative qualities. He knows where he should be in the scheme of the defense and, as mentioned earlier, uses his body to his advantage. Just don’t expect him to cover on a tight end in man coverage. The same goes with his lateral movement. It’s not great, but it still puts him where he needs to be to make a play. Where Landman excels is when he is in position. His downhill speed is top-tier to close the distance on a runner, and he doesn’t miss.
It’s not just his violence that makes him a great prospect, but his football IQ. Landman was given more freedom over Colorado’s defense in his final year. Their defensive coordinator allowed him to make pre-snap checks and play calls at the line of scrimmage adjusting to what he saw on the field. It shows he has recognition from film study and knows how to counter an offense. This trait is very valuable to have in the NFL. He has to potential to take over the play-calling duties as a rookie.
Just a fun fact Landman was born in Zimbabwe where his father was an international rugby player.