Colorado’s Nate Landman leaves Boulder as one of the most decorated linebackers in program history, having been named a multi-year All-American and First-Team Pac-12 member. He is a fifth-year senior who has played a large role in Colorado’s defense for all five years. He was expected to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft but tore his Achilles in the last game of the season. Landman is a tackling machine who consistently finds himself near the football. He is a downhill linebacker who plays with excellent instincts and toughness. In the run game, he is quick to diagnose run, takes excellent angles to the football, and is an outstanding tackler. He displays good strength and hands to stack and shed and defeat blocks and is relentless in his pursuit. In the passing game, Landman displays very good instincts and awareness in zone coverage and shows an ability to read the quarterback’s eyes. Landman is just an average athlete with modest straight-line speed and significant lower-body stiffness, which limits his ability to change direction and play in space in both the running game and passing game. His athletic deficiencies will likely result in him being a two-down player at the next level, but his instincts, toughness, and production will certainly give him a shot to make an NFL roster.
Ideal Role: Two-down MIKE with special teams ability
Scheme Fit: 4-3 inside
Written by Brentley Weissman
Games watched: Texas A&M (2021), Minnesota (2021), UCLA (2020), Stanford (2020)
Best Game Studied: UCLA (2020)
Tackling: Landman is an excellent tackler both in the box and in the open field. He rarely misses tackles and when he gets his hands on the ball-carrier, they aren’t breaking free. He packs a punch upon contact and has forced a number of fumbles throughout his career.
Football IQ/Instincts: A smart and cerebral player, Landman displays excellent instincts. He is quick to diagnose run and pass and is always in the right spot at the right time. He has a nose for the football, reads blocking schemes, and plays very well. He relies on his instincts to allow him to get to the spot a step or two ahead as he lacks foot quickness and burst.
Competitive Toughness: A leader on the football field, Landman plays with his hair on fire and is a heat-seeking missile when pursuing the ball-carrier. He is the type of player you would have to drag off the field and he would give everything he has for his teammates.
Pass Coverage Ability: Landman is a good zone defender with very good eyes, instincts, and awareness. He is very good at reading the QB’s eyes while dropping to his landmark and flows naturally into passing windows. He lacks the athletic ability to cover man to man and is a liability when forced to cover large portions of grass and play in space.
Run Defending: An instinctual run defender, Landman is quick to see the play develop and attack the line of scrimmage. He is a downhill player who triggers with urgency when he reads runs. Landman has very good power to take on blocks and is a very good tackler. When he is forced to defend outside runs and plays that go beyond the box, Landman’s lack of range and sideline-to-sideline speed are evident and he simply can’t get to the edge in time.
Block Deconstruction: Landman displays very good ability to take on blocks. He is a strong and compact player who delivers pop upon contact. He has good hands to stack and shed is quick to uncover when blockers get their hands on him.
Lateral Mobility: I wish Landman was a better athlete because he is such a good football player. Landman has below average lateral mobility and just average speed when pursuing sideline to sideline. He lacks burst and explosiveness and labors when he opens up his stride.
Flexibility: A stiff athlete, Landman has just average flexibility. He gets stuck in the mud when he is forced to change direction and quicker skill players can make him miss if he is coming full speed as it’s hard for him to stop and start cleanly. His lack of fluidity shows up often when playing in space and covering the pass.
Leadership: A team captain for three straight seasons, Landman has outstanding leadership qualities. He makes the defensive calls and gets his guys aligned. He plays with tremendous effort and he clearly shows his love for the game by the way he plays.
Versatility: Because Landman lacks the functional athleticism to play in space, he lacks any sort of positional versatility. His best role projects as a two-down inside linebacker where he can excel playing the run in the box.
Prospect Comparison: Josey Jewell (2018 NFL Draft, Denver Broncos)
TDN Consensus: 68.00/100 (Sixth Round Value)