When Jarvis Landry was in high school in 2011, he was named his team's most valuable player in the Under Amour High School All-America Game. In that game, he caught eight passes for 70 yards and one touchdown, which was a game record at the time.
Coming out of high school, Landry was a five-star recruit and was ranked as the number one receiver in the country by MaxPreps.com. He was ranked fourth by Rivals.com and Scout.com and third best player in Louisiana by Tigerbait.com.
As a true freshman at LSU, Landry played little over the course of 14 games, starting one game. He had four receptions for 43 yards and no touchdowns. On special teams, he racked up 11 tackles.
In 2012, his sophomore season, he played in all 13 games and had one start. He had 56 catches for 573 yards and five touchdowns. He had nine special-teams tackles. Despite only starting one game, he led the team in both receptions with 56 and touchdown receptions with five. He ranked eighth in the SEC in receptions per game with 4.3.
Last season, he burst onto the national scene while starting ten of 13 games. He had 77 receptions for 1,193 yards and ten touchdowns. He earned second team All-SEC honors and ranked second in the SEC in receptions, third in receiving yards and tied for third in receiving touchdowns. He is now ranked fourth in LSU single-season history in receptions, third in receiving yards and tied for fifth in receiving touchdowns. His 15.5 yard per catch average ranks third in school history for those with at least 75 receptions in a season.
His career stats at LSU include 137 catches for 1,809 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played in 40 games and started twelve times. He is ranked tenth in LSU history in career receptions and was named a permanent LSU team captain following the 2013 season. He also received the 2013 Charles McClendon Award, which goes to the team's most valuable player.
Landry's stock started to fall a little when he turned in a poor time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine (4.77 seconds). He reduced that time by a little at his pro day (4.51 seconds) but that is still considered slow by many scouts. However, is it all about the 40-yard dash time? We've seen players such as Clyde Gates kill the 40-yard dash but turn out to be a bust in the NFL.
Cam Cameron, former Dolphins Head Coach and current LSU Offensive Coordinator, had this to say about Landry's speed:
"He can run. The coaches who came here, they have no doubt what his speed is - his game speed. He carries his pads well."
The scouting report on Landry from NFL.com says that he has good balance and body control. He is a savvy route runner and can catch just about everything is thrown his way. One of his best attributes is that he gets the ball at its highest point and will always fight for the ball. Landry is a good blocker and loves to compete.
Personally, I compare him to Brent Grimes. Grimes is a little shorter than Landry but can cover just about any receiver in the NFL. This is because Grimes plays big and gets the ball at the highest point, just like Landry.
His downside is that he is a little small - both weight and height and that could hurt him when playing press coverage. He doesn't have the speed to blow the top off a defense so he will be more of a possession receiver weaving in and out of zones - almost like a Wes Welker / Julian Edelman type. With that said, I'm not so sure that there's anything wrong with that.
We have seen how players like Welker, Edelman and others have cut up defenses and kept the chains moving. While they do have an explosive play from time to time, their job is to catch the ball in the short and intermediate range and get upfield as much as possible. These types of receivers are the ones that keep the offense on the field and the ones that can inject some spark into an offense. When they make a tough catch or when they fight for the extra yards, it gets their teammates around them even more motivated and energized to go out and make a play.
With some of these same thoughts in mind, the Miami Dolphins selected him in the second round of the draft on May 12, 2014. When General Manager Dennis Hickey was asked about what he liked about Landry, he had this to say:
"Just the toughness, playmaking, great hands, the ability to get open, the ability to play in the slot, being able to play on the outside, play on special teams. He does so many things well. When you watch LSU tape, he jumps out at you as, ‘This is a football player,' a guy who plays with great passion, strains to win and just does so many things that helps teams win. Again we always talk about tough, smart, productive, and again he fits that bill. He's a captain. He's a leader. One of the things as we interview a lot of players, we always talk about, ‘Hey when you played different teams, who is an opponent that really stood out?' His name kept coming out. Every player that played against him had a tremendous amount of respect for him, and it definitely shows up on tape. We are thrilled to have him."
Assuming that Brandon Gibson fully recovers in time for training camp, he should be able to hold onto the third receiver spot. With news coming out that the coaches are down on Rishard Matthews, Landry should be able to beat him and others out for the fourth spot on the team. If Gibson isn't healthy enough, Landry could sneak up and become the primary slot receiver. If he's the fourth receiver, he won't start every game, but he should see plenty of action. He is quickly going to become one of Ryan Tannehill's favorite targets and I expect him to make a lot of noise on third down when the Dolphins need a big catch to keep the chains moving.
When Landry was drafted, I had several other wide receivers graded higher than him that were available. Others have said the same thing and that Landry was a bit of a reach. However, there are also those who said that he has the potential to be the steal of the draft and can be compared to players such as those mentioned above and even Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward. If he has a career like any of these guys, no Dolphins fan will be upset for taking Landry instead of any other receiver on the board.
Take a look at the highlight video below and you will see why.
Matthew Cannata is a columnist for The Phinsider. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Jarvis Landry LSU Highlights ᴴᴰ "The Man" (via Harris Highlights)