When teams are looking for rookie WRs on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, many teams are looking for specialists. These are guys who thrive in a certain aspect of the position and can thrive in a role helping a team fulfill a need. Some are deep threats. Some are slot killers. Today, we are going to discuss Matt Landers.
We’ve seen both archetypes get selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft and not only stick in the NFL but big plays to help their teams win. When it comes to deep threats, you won’t find many Day 3 receivers who specialize in that area quite like Arkansas’s Landers.
Blowing Up the Combine
The NFL Combine has it’s skeptics and most of that skepticism is warranted. Asking players deeply personal and sometimes problematic questions you yourself would never get asked in a job interview as well as running around in tights could be seen as unsettling to put it mildly. But the biggest perk of the NFL Combine is it gives players from all over the country a platform to make themselves a lot of money. Matt Landers wasn’t a household name before the combine, but he made himself one after he did this.
An effortless 4.39u for @RazorbackFB WR Matt Landers.
Oh, and he's 6'4" and 200 pounds.
— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2023
Landers, at 6-4 200-pounds, zoomed through 40 yards in the span of 4.37 seconds (officially) at the combine. Sheesh! That’s crazy! His 40-yard dash ranks in the 95th-percentile of all receivers according to PlayerProfiler.com. His 114.2 speed score, accounting for height and weight, sits in the 96th-percentile. Landers’ athleticism score at the combine put him on par with the top of this class. It’s safe to say that those 4.37 seconds made Landers a bit more wealthy.
Matt Landers‘ path to the combine was the road less traveled. He was a three-star recruit who committed to the University of Georgia. But he hauled in only 12 balls in two seasons in Athens, so he transferred to Toledo.
The Field Stretcher
Landers only played in seven games during the 2021 season at Toledo, but he also averaged over 25 yards per reception as a Rocket. He had three receptions of at least 80 yards, all of which went for touchdowns. After his 2021 season at Toledo, he hit the transfer portal and landed at the University of Arkansas. Matt Landers and K.J. Jefferson’s bazooka arm made for a perfect combination. Landers didn’t quite average 25 yards a reception as he did at Toledo, but he did average over 19. He led Arkansas in receiving yards with 902 and touchdowns (eight). It’s very hard to overthrow a guy that big who can run very fast, it turns out.
Matt Landers will be playing on Sundays next year pic.twitter.com/pcglQO83PT
— PlayerProfiler College (@Profiler_CFB) December 28, 2022
Landers’ route tree isn’t going to be the most expansive. He hit his defender with the double move, but he’s not going to route people up like Davante Adams or Justin Jefferson. However, he does know how to use his size and speed to get open on slants in the middle of the field to keep defenders off balance if they give him a cushion though to set up a potential double move.
That isn’t the only way Matt Landers knows how to use his size. The man is 6-4 and doesn’t waste it. Sometimes the job requires Mossing a defender. Landers is happy to oblige. Landers’s size also shows up in the red zone. It makes sense that a dude 6-4 and 200-pounds would be a weapon at the goal line. A simple slant is all he needs. He’s also good at slipping into open space in the end zone if he needs to. But make no mistake: Landers is going to make it in the NFL as a deep threat and air yard king. He’s got some wiggle to him after the catch but most of his looks are going to come down the field.
There are two guys that stick out as comps for Matt Landers. One of them is D.J. Chark. The other is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Neither has proven to be awesome fantasy pieces for seasonal or dynasty leagues, but both have provided plenty of spike weeks.
Landers can do that, especially if he lands on a team with a great quarterback that needs an infusion of speed (hello, Los Angeles Chargers!). Landers could be a best ball darling one of these days but will have to prove himself first. Luckily, he should get his chance soon, and he’ll probably make the most of it.