Free-agent scouting report: Redskins SS LaRon Landry

Posted March 02, 2012 @ 4:03 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

This is the 26th in a series of scouting reports on key players who are expected to become free agents March 13, unless they are re-signed or franchised before then.

News: LaRon Landry might be the best safety on the free-agent market, but his injury status leaves his future in doubt. For the second consecutive offseason, he's rehabbing from an Achilles injury that landed him on injured reserve to close out his season. After playing in 47 consecutive games to start his career, Landry now has missed 16 of the Redskins' past 33 games because of injuries. He has expressed his desire to return to the Redskins, and the team appears to want him back. But his shaky health status leaves that possibility hanging for a bit, and so far Landry is putting off surgery on his left Achilles this offseason, which could turn off teams from taking a chance on him.

Notes: Landry was the sixth pick in the 2007 draft, after being a four-year starter at LSU. He immediately entered the starting lineup as a rookie, playing well alongside the late Sean Taylor at safety, with only injuries knocking him out of the lineup since. One of the biggest hitters in the NFL when healthy, Landry moved into a more prominent playmaking role under current Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett once he was asked to play closer to the line of scrimmage and not have to cover deep halves in the secondary. Landry was the Redskins' best defender the first half of the 2010 season, making 85 tackles (his third-highest total in his career) despite playing only nine games.

Positives: A ferocious hitter who can dislodge balls loose and knock unsuspecting receivers and runners out of the game, Landry has a great physique, good anticipation skills and wraps up ballcarriers well. He is an emotional player whose verve can spark a defense. Landry knows the schemes well, is assignment-sound and can help line up his teammates. He has great strength for the position and can match up with physical and quick tight ends, which the NFL has seen more of the past few seasons.

Negatives: Landry struggles in space and is not as instinctive against the deep pass. Although he has good range, his first step can be slow and he doubts what he sees in zone coverage at times. His penchant for injuries is concerning, as the physical toll he doles out also has come back to bite him the past few seasons. Landry also can allow his emotions to boil over at times and affect his play. He's not exceptional in man coverage down the field and wouldn't be an idea fit in a traditional cover-2 defense that would ask him to play full time in space.

Risk factor: It's high because of the injury quotient. It's likely the Redskins will want him back because they have no instant replacement on the roster yet (DeJon Gomes isn't ready, and he is not in Landry's caliber as an athlete). Landry only has played at an elite level for half of a season, the first eight games of '10, although it's fair to say he's a good playmaker. The guess is that the Redskins will offer him a one-year deal to come back — at less than he would have made if he was healthy — and if the other offers are not strong, he could remain in D.C.