Joel Lanning

Iowa St.

Prospect Info

Iowa St.
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6' 2"
230 lbs
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Prospect Grade

Should Be in an NFL Training Camp
How We Grade


Lanning was one of the best stories in college football in 2017, as were the Cyclones themselves. The son of a former Philadelphia Phillies minor league baseball player (Jeff) was a good ballplayer himself, as well as an all-state grappler in wrestling-crazy Iowa. Lanning was also the Class 4A Player of the Year in football as a senior, leading his team to a state title with 2,135 yards through the air and 1,082 on the ground. He redshirted in Ames in 2013, then played in one game on special teams as the backup quarterback the following year. Lanning got his shot at quarterback at the end of 2015, as he started the final five games, playing in 11 total contests that year, completing 55.4 percent of his passes for 1,247 yards and 10 touchdowns against four interceptions (94 carries, 330 yards, four touchdowns rushing). He was a co-captain in 2016, but only started nine of 12 games (58.6 percent completion, 1,290 passing yards, nine touchdowns, three interceptions; 121 carries, 518 yards, 11 touchdowns rushing). Lanning ended the season with 121 straight passes without an interception. Before the 2017 season, Lanning was asked by his coaches to move to middle linebacker and he agreed. All he did in that one season in the middle was lead the team in tackles with 114 (11 for loss, six sacks), intercept one pass, and break up two others in 13 starts. He also rushed the ball 40 times for 135 yards and two scores and threw a few passes (3-of-4, 47 yards, touchdown). Big 12 coaches named Lanning second-team all-conference for his efforts.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Lanning's stat sheet looked extremely impressive as a one-year starter at inside linebacker, but those numbers belie his athletic limitations and lack of instincts. While Lanning is a gamer who should continue to improve with time, he'll have to ball out on special teams early on to have a shot at making a roster. With Lanning's willingness to bang, he could be targeted for a move to fullback at some point.
  • Surprisingly productive for just one season at linebacker
  • Competes like a madman on every snap
  • Likes the physical aspects of the game and is willing to bang against climbing linemen
  • Plays with a second pursuit that gets him in on tackles even after his initial charge is stymied
  • Showed improved awareness and feel for linebacker position as season progressed
  • Performed well as a two-way player in upset win over Oklahoma
  • Should continue to improve with more coaching and reps
  • Plays with elevated pad level and lacks chase speed to run down NFL running backs
  • Lacks game experience at linebacker
  • Instincts aren't up to par
  • Struggled to consistently digest blocking schemes and appears to take random shots downhill
  • Missing reactive athletic qualities and lateral agility to be consistent open field tackler on NFL level
  • Unable to handle man coverage responsibilities
  • Needs to improve with his hands in taking on blockers
Once-in-lifetime player
Perennial All-Pro
Future All-Pro
Pro Bowl-caliber player
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
Should become instant starter
Chance to become NFL starter
NFL backup or special teams potential
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
Should be in an NFL training camp
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
Likely needs time in developmental league