Who knew that this game would be the pinnacle of Landri's career as a Jaguar
In 2007, Derek was thought to be one of the draft steals, falling all the way to the 5th round despite being mocked as a 3rd or 4th round draft pick. Chris was happy when the Jaguars selected him and he wasn't the only one. Landri quickly showed his worth with a strong preseason performance that earned him a spot on the squad. He didn't see many snaps until the end of the season, but in the last few games he saw a considerably larger amount, culminating in a wild- card matchup against the Steelers.
In the game, Derek put on a show and finished the with a sack and an interception. At that point in time he became one of my favorite Jaguars. I mean, come on, who doesn't like an undersized guy who works his butt off to make things happen.
During the offseason, Landri said he wanted to gain some muscle mass, but still keep his speed which was his biggest asset. Most Jaguar fans expected to see growth out of the young DT, and there was some, but very little. He had an up-and-down season, although he did manage to record 10 QB pressures and 2 sacks. His run stopping ability was still questionable and the weight didn't appear to be enough, but the pass rushing was still there. Derek provided the team with a change of pace DT who could penetrate into the backfield.
Coming into 2009, Landri made the same commitment to gain weight; however, it appears that things did not go as planned. It's difficult to judge his play due to the lack of time he got on the field. The only rationale for his drop-off, would be that Derek gained too much weight and it affected his speed. Without the exceptional speed, Derek is simply not that good of a player. His run support didn't compensate for the lack of pass rush. Couple that with the addition of Terrance Knighton, Atiyyah Ellison and Montavious Stanley, and you see why Landri became the odd man out. He became strictly a situational player.
Yet another Shack Harris draft pick has been purged from the roster by Gene Smith. I was always pulling for Derek Landri to make the step from jar on the shelf, to a good player, and I'll pull for him to find success elsewhere. Good luck Derek and thank you for contributing in the biggest Jacksonville victory of this decade.