Whether by flying upfield or swimming past offensive tackles, Florida A&M EDGE Isaiah Land’s sole purpose is to bury opposing quarterbacks into the ground. He’s done just that for the Rattlers, but after five years, he’s ready for new prey. Boasting a venomous 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, Land could be the pass-rush antidote for defenses across the league.
Isaiah Land NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Florida A&M
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’3 1/2″, 236 pounds
- Length: 32 1/2″
- Hand Size: 9 1/4″
Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Land took his talents down south to further his football career. He arrived at national powerhouse Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia, as a 160-pound wide receiver but left as a 215-pound defensive end.
Although he racked up seven sacks as a senior, Land fell through the cracks as a recruit, receiving zero stars from all major rankings. Yet, one DI program believed in him: Florida A&M. And Land repaid the Rattlers … with a ridiculous interest rate, too.
Land flashed his game-altering skill set with one interception, five tackles for loss, and two sacks in nine games as a redshirt freshman, but COVID delayed his collegiate breakout until 2021. Was the wait worth it? You tell me.
Led the nation in sacks (19) and tackles for loss (25.5). Broke the school record with five sacks in a single game. Named first-team All-SWAC as well as SWAC Defensive Player of the Year. Earned unanimous first-team All-American recognition. Crowned the most outstanding defensive player in the FCS with the Buck Buchanan Award.
Land parlayed his newfound throne atop the FCS into SEC offers in the transfer portal, but he ultimately returned to the Rattlers in 2022. And while his eight sacks and 12 TFLs are relatively underwhelming on the surface, there’s more to his lack of production.
The star pass rusher missed much of spring practice with a hip injury, was ruled ineligible for Week 0 due to administrative errors, and was out in Week 7 with a knee injury. All told, Land leaves Tallahassee having laid waste to SWAC defenses to the tune of 42.5 tackles for loss, 29 sacks, four forced fumbles, and seven pass deflections in 29 career games.
Despite HBCUs often being overlooked, Land’s production couldn’t be denied. As a result, he received an invite to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, putting on a show at both. Due to injuries in Mobile, Land practiced and played inside linebacker at the Senior Bowl game, showcasing a skill set he never had before.
Then, in Indianapolis, Land checked in 11 pounds heavier than his roster-listed 225 pounds and wowed onlookers with a 4.62 40-yard dash, 34.5″ vertical, and a 10’6″ broad jump.
Isaiah Land Scouting Report
During the Combine, NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks raved about Land’s path to the draft: “Sack production translates in the National Football League. Isaiah Land has an opportunity to be a really outstanding pro — might be underrated coming into the league.”
Underrated? To the public and the NFL itself, probably. But Land’s used to being the underdog, and he won’t stop pushing and swinging his way to the top.
- Impressive first step and get-off with the visible athleticism that matches his Combine numbers.
- Possesses the speed to win on the outside track and the flexibility/bend to dip around the arc.
- Has the range to track down ball carriers from the backside.
- Extremely quick on outside-in stunts vs. unsuspecting guards.
- Displayed sought-after body control and lateral agility in all phases.
- Plays with a low pad level, sustaining leverage through reps.
- Comes with a pass-rush plan and will counter off previous moves to catch linemen off guard.
- Owns a deadly inside move once he gets OTs to flip hips upfield.
- Natural, active hands as a pass rusher to keep himself clean — attacks opposing tackles’ outside hand.
- Motor always runs hot, picking up second- and third-effort production.
Areas for Improvement
- Size, particularly in his lower half, and length will be an issue vs. run game early on — can’t set the edge before being walked off the line by a few yards.
- Too easily pushed off balance on first contact.
- Can struggle to penetrate with speed-to-power moves against bigger tackles.
- Doesn’t have significant snaps at off-ball LB or in coverage.
- Must become more consistent with his hands — would occasionally hit too high and slip off or simply whiff when attempting to chop.
- Can do a better job of ripping once he gets a step on opponents.
- Too many missed tackles on tape due to a combination of length, mass, and not coming to balance.
- RB chip blocks and WR crack blocks can knock him out of the play.
FAMU LB Isaiah Land Current Draft Projection
Following a draft that sent four HBCU prospects to the NFL, Land hopes to feature in an even more successful class. But what’s his best role in the pros? Glad you asked.
Just because Land has the work ethic and athletic prowess to attempt a full-time switch to off-ball linebacker doesn’t mean he should. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and the FAMU defender has been a devasting EDGE the last two seasons.
Whether as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 rush end, Land is a pass-rush specialist and should be utilized as such as he continues to develop his frame in an NFL weight training program.
Land has the lateral agility, flexibility, get-off, short-area burst, overall speed, and bend to threaten the edge on passing downs. Don’t take my word for it — turn on the tape and see his Combine numbers come to life.
With small-school prospects, they need to produce at elite levels to earn draft capital. It’s safe to say Land checks that box twice over. His size will be an issue, and he could clean up some things technically — primarily his hand usage — but Land’s profile is worth a mid-to-late Day 3 draft pick.
A message for NFL decision-makers: If you pass on this Rattler, it won’t just come back to bite you — it will cause your QB to have hallucinations in the pocket.
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