College: Florida A&M
Weight: 236 lbs.
One of the best FCS prospects in this year’s Draft is Florida A&M’s Isaiah Land. Land won the 2021 Buck Buchanan Award, an accolade given annually to the subdivision’s best defensive player and put up some big performances while with the Rattlers who used him as both a linebacker and defensive end. He finished his college career (2018-2022) with 29 sacks, leading the nation with 19 in 2021. Land also racked up 42.5 career tackles for loss and got in on 89 total stops during his time at FAMU.
Land, who participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl back in February, put together a solid showing at the NFL Combine. He showcased his speed for scouts, clocking a 4.62 40-yard dash (10th best among defensive linemen) and a 4.56 in the 20-yard shuttled drill. That speed is an asset that has served him well as he is often one of the first in the opposing backfield given he penetrates the line of scrimmage.
Along with his speed, Land has excellent agility in his feet which allows him to track down opposing ball carriers in space, especially when moving right to left. When his defense is stretched side to side, Land is a valuable asset in preventing the opposition from getting to the outside.
He is also a very fluid tackler, often making stops seem effortless. His pursuit to the ball is aided greatly by the lengthy strides he is able to make when running. He has good awareness and recognizes gaps in the opposing line quickly allowing him to be an asset in stopping the run.
For all he brings to the table in terms of speed and quickness, however, NFL scouts have expressed concerns about his smaller size and, in turn, his ability to hold substantial weight on his frame when meeting blockers. Land will need to bulk up in order to land a spot on a final roster come fall but an NFL-caliber offseason regimen should help do the trick.
Final Analysis: Overall Land has followed up a great college career with a very productive winter and it should have only helped his draft stock. His smaller size will certainly have some GMs wary but he still has a lot to offer. If he puts on more muscle and maintains his current speed then there’s a chance he’ll be a real asset to an NFL roster down the line. There’ll be work to be done once he is selected in April and he may have to spend some time on a practice squad but don’t be surprised if Land is a bonafide starter in the league a year or two from now.
Projected Selection: 5th Round (Day 3)