There are 31 NFL teams that are kicking themselves for passing on Harold Landry III in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns passed him four times. The Indianapolis Colts passed on Landry three times. The New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens had more than one chance to acquire Landry, but also skipped and filled other needs.
Titans GM Jon Robinson lunged at the opportunity to make a trade for Landry and seconds before the pick was announced, the video of the war room showing Robinson high-fiving HC Mike Vrabel emerged.
Robinson had to have known he had negotiated a draft steal that would not only fill an area of need - but found a player he believed could have an immediate impact.
Landry has done just that.
In the 1999 NFL Draft, Jevon Kearse was the fourth defensive player taken in the first round behind CB Champ Bailey, CB Chris McAlister and DT Anthony “Booger” McFarland.
Kearse, a Florida Gator alum, was considered by some to be a top 10 pick. Instead, the Titans snatched him six picks outside of the top 10. Kearse - who eventually became the Defensive Rookie of the Year - was a player 15 teams regretted not drafting.
The magical season that was ‘99 was special for many reason. One big reason included the Freak. Kearse was a dominant force on defense - but most of his dominance came during the second half of his rookie season.
Through the first eight games, Kearse had four sacks. His disruption couldn’t be measured through the box score. There were things he did defensively that simply made huge impacts and shifted momentum week to week.
Landry has one sack through three games, but the havoc he has created cannot and should not go unnoticed. MCM Mike Herndon, Titans Film Room and Superhorn all have posted excellent film clips showing just exactly what kind of damage is left behind a Landry rush.
Hard not to wonder if Landry had been active for the disastrous Miami game, this team may be undefeated.
Landry has put several teams on notice through the first quarter of the season - and the scary thing is, his play will only continue to improve.
As mentioned above, Kearse had four sacks through the first eight games - three sacks coming in one game against Cleveland. Could Landry do the same as he faces the Buffalo Bills - who have allowed the most sacks in the league?
The second half of Kearse’s rookie season, he stacked up 10.5 sacks and finished the regular season with 14.5. Landry has all the physical tools and is surrounded by a strong supporting cast, which makes it possible for him to explode onto the scene and legitimately contend for the Defensive Rookie of the Year crown.
Landry will continue to find comfort in his role and DC Dean Pees will continue to shuffle versatile backer along the defensive front hoping to get an impact.
Landry will be honored by season end.