Odell Beckham Jr. was the flashy, speedy guy, and he ended up being selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. The other was Miami Dolphins second-round pick Jarvis Landry.
“I was the reliable guy,” Landry said simply Friday night in a conference call with South Florida reporters.
This was no boasting by Landry.
After all, it was he and not Beckham who led the Tigers in receptions not only last season but in 2012 as well.
“He’s a guy we watched for a long time in the SEC,” Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey said. “He’s tough, he’s smart. He’s productive. When you watch the tape, he jumps out at you. Just a guy that has a passion for the game and just makes plays.
“I saw him play live several times and he always jumped out, just his ability to make plays and play with the toughness and passion that symbolizes what the Miami Dolphins are about.”
In his last season at LSU before leaving for the NFL draft as an underclassman, Landry caught 77 passes for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns while earning second-team All-SEC honors from the league coaches.
Landry wasn’t a first-round pick because he’s not as fast as Beckham. In fact, a slow time at the scouting combine that partially was the result of a hamstring injury might have helped the Dolphins land him.
“Opportunity,” is how Hickey described his reaction to Landry’s disappointing 4.77 40-yard dash time at the combine, a time he improved considerably at his subsequent Pro Day.
“We felt Jarvis Landry played fast at the highest level vs. excellent corners, vs. safeties, and he produced,” Hickey said. “He was able to get open, and with tremendous hands.”
What’s never been in question is Landry’s ability to make plays. After all, he was one of only two wide receivers available in the 2014 draft who were five-star recruits. The other was fourth overall selection Sammy Watkins.
Landry’s strengths simply go beyond pure speed.
Asked to provide a scouting report on himself, Landry said: “Big hands, quicker than fast. Smart football IQ. Reliable hands. Blocker. Special teams value. Consistency. Those factors have been the key factors.”
Landry has been compared to current Jets wide receiver Eric Decker because of his route-running ability and savvy, and that was one of the players he mentioned when he was asked to name an NFL comparison for his game.
“I believe in constant learning and taking bits and pieces from everybody,” Landry said. “If I had to say as far as route-running, it would be as close to Eric Decker as you could find; and as far as football IQ with intermediate routes, it’s Wes Welker; and using my hands and my ability to make catches, it’s like Larry Fitzgerald,just being able to put my body on the line for my teammates and have that trust that when Ryan (Tannehill) throws me that ball, I’m going to catch it every time.”
The Dolphins selected Landry with the 63rd overall selection after twice trading down in the second round.
Miami originally moved down from 50th overall to 57th in a trade with the San Diego Chargers that involved the acquisition of a fourth-round choice. The Dolphins then moved down six more spots, getting a fifth-round selection from the San Francisco 49ers in the process.
Getting drafted by the Dolphins clearly was a big deal for Landry, who could be heard sniffing throughout his conference call and admitted to crying.
“Very emotional time for my family and I,” Landry said. “It’ll be over soon.
“It’s an honor to have the privilege to play in Miami and not only that, play with such great plays and great guys. It’s one of those unexpected things, but I take it this was meant to be.”
Landry says the one thing he wants to work on as he begins his NFL career is getting stronger.
Beyond that, it’s just about always trying to get better.
“Just not being content where I’ve been and the things that I’ve reached,” Landry said. “For me I guess I can say (I’ve been) underrated my whole life. For me, it was always having to prove myself. Even after accomplishing what I’ve accomplished, I know that I’m nowhere near the potential that I’ll be in the next couple of years and I can’t wait to display that on the highest level of football.”