We continue our ranking of the 25 best players on the New York Jets in the secondary, with veteran strong safety Dawan Landry. The Jets signed Landry as a free agent last offseason, and it is safe to say they were pleased with their investment, despite the fact their pass defense struggled. Landry faces a lot of competition from young safeties this offseason, but he remains a valuable asset to the Jets.
Landry recorded exactly 100 tackles for the Jets last season, finishing tied for 10th among safeties in that category. Landry has hit the century mark in three of the last four seasons (he had 97 tackles the year he didn’t), and he proved to be a key member of the defense in his first season in New York. Unfortunately, Landry wasn’t able to create impact plays, recording just one interception and one sack. However, he brings several other attributes to the defense that make him valuable to the Jets.
Landry is at his best as an in the box safety helping against the run, and he was certainly a significant contributor to the Jets’ third ranked rush defense. While Landry leaves a lot to be desired against the pass, there is no doubt that his presence as a security blanket helped cover for tough years from Dee Milliner and Antonio Cromartie. Perhaps what makes Landry most valuable to the Jets is his intangibles, as he is intelligent and a respected leader, and his presence in the huddle and the locker room can’t be measured by his stat line.
Going forward, it remains to be seen how big a role Landry will have. First round pick Calvin Pryor is a lock to start at one safety spot, while third year man Antonio Allen may have the inside track on the other. However, the Jets use a lot of three safety looks, and there is no doubt that Landry will still have a chance to make an impact for the Jets this season. The Jets need his smarts and experience in their secondary, and his run stuffing skills will certainly keep him on the field in certain situations. Landry may not be a starter this season, but he is still a player the Jets are expecting big things from.