Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another UDFA

Now that we've explored the Brandon Crawford story -- to the applause of some, and the boos of some other sour-pusses -- let's take a look at an undrafted free agent who actually comes to rookie minicamp with a contract. That means he was signed as a priority free agent and has a better-than-even shot of at least getting to training camp.

Penn State right tackle Dennis Landolt is an interesting case, in that he came to the Giants because they handed him a $25,000 signing bonus. If that sounds insignificant, think again. The average undrafted college kid gets about $10,000 to sign. That means the Giants had to outbid somebody for Landolt.

If they think that highly of him, there's a good chance Landolt could be a factor deep into training camp, and perhaps even unseat somebody like Guy Whimper or Adam Koets for a roster spot. He's 6-foot-5, 306, and earned third-team AP All-America honors and made second-team All-Big Ten. Though he played right tackle mostly, some scouts project him as a guard because of his aggressive nature.

Here's what NFL Draft Scout had to say about him.

Pass blocking: Only adequate footwork on the edge, will be better in tight spaces inside. Occasionally meets wide ends on the corner, but will wait on them too often and not deliver a punch, allowing penetration. Bends at waist to push man around the pocket, will give up too many secondary rushes. Fair anchor, but can be pushed back by strong, elite ends. Plays with enough leverage to handle tackles one-on-one on twists. Feet get stuck at times when facing quicker ends. Does not recover from outside-in moves well, reaching instead of moving his feet.

Run blocking: Obviously loves to come off the ball with bad intentions, able to latch onto his man's numbers and sustain through the whistle. Good mobility and strength to be effective in zone-blocking scheme. Combos well, easily moving from end to negate the linebacker. Moves feet to get the proper angle for walling off defenders inside or sealing the edge. Gets low in short-yardage situations, keeping legs moving to push back the pile. Good cut blocker, gets low, hits the shin and rolls or get hand up to prevent defender from reaching the play.

Pulling/trapping: Quick enough feet to trap around guard to meet linebackers in the hole. Gets low to engage and push back his man, keeps churning to the whistle to sustain. Adjusts well to oncoming inside defenders, keeps them from reaching the ball from behind.Initial Quickness: Comes off the ball really well on most run plays, driving average ends back and moving even stout linemen in the needed direction. Average pass set and kick-slide after snap, may struggle to get hands on quicker NFL ends to prevent them from using their pass rush moves. Forced to reach against blitzing linebackers.

Downfield: Has the mobility to get downfield to block, but ducks his head and bends at the waist trying to reach defenders at second level instead of moving his feet and extending his arms to engage. Usually finds a target, and hits the inside man.

Intangibles: Extremely durable, reliable lineman with excellent work ethic. Gives his all on every play. Coach Joe Paterno lauds Landolt for his discipline and for being assignment-sure. Took on vocal leader role as a senior.

He's durable, too, having started 39 straight games. He was a big part of that line allowing just 17 sacks in 13 games, and helped the Nittany Lions rush for 169.8 yards per game, fifth best in the Big 10.

Because of that and the Giants' obvious interest, he has to be looked at as having the best chance of the undrafted signees to latch on to the roster.



  1. Thank you Ern! Interesting stuff about a guy who isnt 33 years old.

    By the way, U were nothing but the draft grinch leading up to it and I think you changed your tune once the draft kicked off because u were FIRING!

  2. is there a confirmation that Micah Johnson was signed by the Giants? He was a top rated ILB before this season; previous mock drafts before the college FB season had him as #2 MLB behind Spikes and ahead of McClain. I did not see his name in the paper, but I read it in one of your posts.

    Landolt is a player, and the giants can let go of Whimper who has always been a project for them (former DE converting to OL).
    The Giants should have made some noise with Mickey Shuler's kid

  3. EP, now this is more like it.

    Landolt can either replace Koets as a backup OT or serve as added insurance in case the Giants choose not to re-sign Whimper (who they're still high on) as he enters the last year of his rookie contract. However, I'd like to know whether he can play spot duty at the C position because, as it stands, the Giants do not seem to have an adequate backup on the roster.

  4. Wayno:

    Just to clear things up, I'm still the draft grinch, and I'll proudly wear that moniker to the grave. But I also, perhaps not so humbly, consider myself a consumate pro. And the mark of a pro is doing the job and doing it well, no matter how distasteful it may be. And believe me, nobody hates this draft stuff more than me.

    The idea is to do it well enough so nobody notices you hate it. Hope I succeeded, at least partially.

  5. Anon:

    Micah Johnson is listed as one of the tryout kids for the Giants. No contract, hoping to get one after rookie minicamp.

  6. "The idea is to do it well enough so nobody notices you hate it. Hope I succeeded, at least partially."

    Ernie - if someone did a better job of draft coverage for the Giants, I'm not aware of it. Excellent job, good insight, much thanks. I only hope that next year you're posting from Radio City and can give us some exclusive video interviews with Reese and the scouts. That's really the only way I can see you topping this year. Of course, that is merely my opinion. I will let the others chime in as to their thoughts. BTW - thank you for not issuing one those moronic draft "report cards". You stated what you felt would make this draft a success and left it at that. Nice understated and rational work.