The No. 10 player on this list is about to embark on his fourth season in the Buckeyes’ nose tackle rotation and second year as a starter, and is still looking for a shot on the offensive side of the ball.
No. 10 — Robert Landers, rSr Nose Tackle
Robert Landers was a late, but welcome addition to Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class. After redshirting as a true freshman, he has been in Ohio State’s lineup whenever healthy.
Last season was his first as a starter, and he managed to put up 25 tackles, five tackles for loss, and a sack.
He did this despite really only seeing time on early downs and while splitting reps with fellow nose tackle Davon Hamilton.
In 2016 as a redshirt freshman, Landers exploded on the scene with seven tackles for loss in his first five career games.
After that, teams caught on a little bit as to what they were dealing with.
What He Does Well
Robert Landers is listed at 6-foot-1, which will either be confirmed or very denied at next year’s NFL Combine.
Regardless of his listed height versus actual height, he uses all of it to his advantage. Landers’ low center of gravity allows him to be difficult to defeat in the leverage battle against interior linemen.
— PFDZ (@PFDZ44) April 28, 2019
What makes him a playmaker, however, is how quick he is off the ball.
— PFDZ (@PFDZ44) June 12, 2019
The defensive line will be attacking upfield more than they did last season, which could mean more unbelievable plays like this.
— PFDZ (@PFDZ44) June 12, 2019
And even when an opposing lineman is ready for him, Landers still has the ability to manhandle people.
A little push-pull and arm-over move from Ohio State IDL Robert Landers for the sack. A SR IDL to watch for the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/mq9Or7XPyy
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 1, 2019
Robert Landers in 2019
Landers and Hamilton will again split the nose tackle reps for the Buckeye defense, and they will again generally do it only on running downs.
While this cuts down their reps, it does allow them to attack full speed on every single snap because they aren’t getting worn down. And Robert Landers at full speed may only be good for a few yards, but that’s all he really needs to create problems.
When Landers gets into the backfield, he may not be stopping the ball, but he is disrupting the offensive line and throwing the timing of the play off. And any time he can force the quarterback to reset or leave the pocket, there’s a good chance that the QB will be running into an outside pass rusher.
Don’t expect big numbers this season from Landers because that’s not what nose tackles do. When he is on the field, however, don’t be surprised if he’s the first guy making trouble on most of his snaps.
Ohio State has another great run-stopper in Robert Landers. pic.twitter.com/rQxo8SCmpU
— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 14, 2019
What They Are Saying
“It’s a lot of fun every day. Every day you look forward to going out on the field. He gives you no problems. He brings great energy. He’s got great leadership skills. He cares for the game, but he’s also a guy that can keep it light for the guys. When he speaks, the guys listen to him. The most important thing is that he’s a guy that does it by example. He’s worked extremely hard to be where he’s at. I say all the time that he’s gravity challenged, but he’s really athletic and he plays hard. He makes a difference for us.” — Larry Johnson on what it’s like to coach Robert Landers
“I think so. I think teams that play against him don’t really know who he is and don’t know how quick he is. They kind of sit back and the next thing you know he’s in the backfield creating havoc. I think it’s a plus for him with everything he brings to the table.” — Larry Johnson on the fact that Robert Landers uses his (lack of) height to his advantage