Sometimes the best NFL players aren’t the biggest. They aren’t the strongest. They’re not even the fastest. But they have certain qualities about them that overcome any physical impairment they have, and become incredibly productive players. A prime of example of this? Miami Dolphins great O.J. McDuffie.
The man simply known as “Juice” didn’t blow people away with his measurables, standing 5’10, weighing 195 pounds. But he did blow defenses away with his grittiness, elusiveness, and the way he played the receiver position. McDuffie was the all-around package with tremendous hands and excellent route running abilities. While he wasn’t the fastest receiver around, he did more than just fine during his NFL career as the favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino throughout the 1990s.
Now in a role with The Finsiders as an analyst, McDuffie has been spending time evaluating the newest bunch of players to join the Dolphins after the 2014 NFL draft. There was one particular player who caught his eye. It was former LSU receiver Jarvis Landry, noticing that Landry plays just a little bit like #81 used to back in the day. On The Finsiders “Fins On The Clock” Friday night and on yesterday’s Finsiders show, McDuffie gave his thoughts on Landry, who also goes by the “Juice” moniker.
McDuffie sees that while Landry doesn’t have the top-flight speed, he’s got all the necessary tools to make an impact. Standing at 6’1, 195 lbs., he does all the little things you could ask from versatility standpoint, playing both inside and outside positions. Some receivers may have a 4.3 40 time and be big and tall, but that doesn’t mean they can automatically capture the nuances of the position, or even catch the ball well. Landry does that and then some, bringing a rare physicality and ferocity to the position.
“His toughness, his awareness on the field, I mean I love his route running and his hands,” said McDuffie. “You’ve got a guy that’s going to be a quality guy that’s going to do a lot of things on the inside which is one of the more important positions.”
Not being the most imposing presence from a physical standpoint, Landry makes up for it with his ever-running motor and his tenacious appetite for the ball. He’s always looking to make an impact, whether it is catching the ball, blocking, or even on special teams.
“You’ve got to be crafty, and I think this guy is crafty,” said McDuffie. “He competes. He’s looking for guys to block all the time, he can play on special teams. This is the kind of guy you want on your team. A guy that’s hungry and polished. He’s done it at the highest level in college, so I think it’s a great addition to this football team.”
Landry gives the optimal amount of options for the Dolphins from a play-calling standpoint, as both a weapon in the passing game and the running game. Whether it’s running combination routes with Charles Clay in three wide, one tight, and one back sets, or mixing it up in the run game with opposing defenders blocking downfield, the younger “Juice” is willing to do whatever it takes.
“If you’ve got a guy inside that is willing to get his nose dirty and nose bloody like I like to call it, you can actually run the ball in those situations,” said McDuffie. “You could go with three wide receivers, a tight end, and a running back and not have to pass it all the time.”
Of course this is just the start of Landry’s NFL journey, but as a 2nd round pick he’s got a lot of expectations to live up to. And more importantly, he’s got to represent a nickname that holds a lot of weight around South Florida.
“I’m the old ‘juice’ “, said McDuffie. “I’m going to go ahead and let him have it; we need a new fresh ‘juice’ in Miami. I’m ready for Jarvis to take over.”
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.