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Do we really need a DE in this draft?


Robb4242
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I've seen a lot on this board saying we need a DE in this draft. We HAVE to upgrade the pass rush. We MUST replace JA98. Well, can that be backed up based on facts?

First off, how was our pass rush last year? Well, a quick check of NFL stats reveals that we had the 11th MOST sacks of all the NFL teams. That's not too bad, top third of the league. So, why is everyone saying that a DE and a pass rushing specialist are must drafts in round 1 this year? It seems that most just feel that only the 2 starting DEs should be providing the bulk of the sacks. But is that REALLY the case? Is that what happens for other teams?

One of the best arguments I've seen is from jaymadd1, and it's the reason I started the research I'm posting here. Jaymadd1 has said that we need another DE because JA55 had put up 47% of our sack total last year. I know he is correct in that, but I wondered if that were an extreme case. So I checked on the teams that put up better sack totals than we did last year. Turns out that of the top 11, 7 of 11 had 1 player who accounted for 30% or more of their sack total. Again, this is just from the top 12 teams or roughly 1/3rd of the league. My expectation is that a similar percentage would carry out through the league. Also, there were 2 out of 11 teams where 1 player accounted for more than 45% of the teams sack total. Given that Abraham's total of 47% was the highest of any team in the top 11, I would say that yes, we probably do need another pass rusher on the roster. However, with Biermann having a year under his belt and Babineaux & Davis returning I say we have some pieces in place to take some of the sack pressure off of JA55.

Now to JA98. Is he the real player that needs to go, or at least be benched and labled a bust? While researching I found another interesting tidbit. Of the top 11 teams in sacks, 7 primarily run a 4-3 defense like we do. So I will be using those 7 teams here. The 6 teams besides us are: Philly, Minnesota, Tennessee, NY Giants, Carolina, & Seattle. Out of these 7 teams, 5.5 had a DE lead them in sacks (Seattle actually had a tie between a DE & DT for the sack lead, so they get half credit). The other 1.5 teams were led in sacks by a DT. Now this is where things get really interesting and have relevance to JA98. ONLY 1 TEAM OUT OF THE 7 HAD A STARTING DE FINISH 2ND ON THE TEAM IN SACKS. Let me repeat that. Only 1 team, out of the 7 teams that ran a 4-3 defense, and finished with more sacks than we did, had a starting DE finish 2nd in sacks. 3 of those teams had a backup DE finish 2nd in sacks and 3 teams had a starting DT finish 2nd in sacks (I'm including Seattle as a team with a starting DT as 2nd in sacks since there DE who was tied for 1st was only a part time starter).

So, do we REALLY need to banish and keep calling a solid run playing LDE a bust, when his play is similar to other starting LDE's on the top 11 sack recording teams of 2008? I don't think so. Most teams DO NOT RELY on their LDE to rush the passer. They do get help from backup DE's and starting DTs though. This is why I feel we have the key elements in place on the roster in Babineaux, Davis, & Biermann. It's the same model that other successful pass rushing teams are following. I believe that this is why TD & Mike Smith both say that they are comfortable in JA98's abilities and his growth.

So do we need a DE early in this draft? I think the answer is absolutely not.

Do we draft a college pass rushing specialist in rounds 5 or 6 (where there is a good amount of quality pass rushing DEs that should be available in this range)? Sure, it would make sense.

Here is the list of 4-3 defenses that ranked in the top 11 in sacks last season with their sack leaders:

Philadelphia led by DE Howard, 2nd was a backup DE

Minnesota led by DE Allen, 2nd was a starting DT

Tennessee led by DT Haynesworth, 2nd was a backup DE

NY Giants led by DE Tuck, 2nd was the other starting DE

Carolina led by DE Peppers, 2nd was a backup DE

Seattle led by DE Tapp and DT Mebane

Atlanta led by DE Abraham, 2nd was a tie between a starting DT & a backup DE

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Thanks for the reference Robb. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of us getting a DE in the first. I hope that JA98 improves and is consistently productive. I still dont think that an improved JA98, Davis,or even Biermann would provide the pass rush ability of a players like English or MIcheal Johnson. I do think that DT would help improve our pass rush, but i think that the best DT of this draft are likely to be gone before we pick at 24 (Raji & Jerry). I still have hope that Lewis can be effective as a DT if we rotated players like we did last year. I think that we do have the luxury of taking a DE in the first because I feel like a good portion of our holes will be filled up with our pre-draft roster. I dont think that the FO would let our starters walk if he didnt have confidence in our current young players as you stated, but that also leads me to thinking that we will have alot of options with our pick at 24. TD has been looking at a few DE, that are ranked pretty high on draft boards like English, Micheal Johnson, and Barwin. I still want us to go DE in the first, but whichever way we go I know that it will be a good decision.

Just a Day in the Mind of Jaymadd :D

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I've seen a lot on this board saying we need a DE in this draft. We HAVE to upgrade the pass rush. We MUST replace JA98. Well, can that be backed up based on facts?

First off, how was our pass rush last year? Well, a quick check of NFL stats reveals that we had the 11th MOST sacks of all the NFL teams. That's not too bad, top third of the league. So, why is everyone saying that a DE and a pass rushing specialist are must drafts in round 1 this year? It seems that most just feel that only the 2 starting DEs should be providing the bulk of the sacks. But is that REALLY the case? Is that what happens for other teams?

One of the best arguments I've seen is from jaymadd1, and it's the reason I started the research I'm posting here. Jaymadd1 has said that we need another DE because JA55 had put up 47% of our sack total last year. I know he is correct in that, but I wondered if that were an extreme case. So I checked on the teams that put up better sack totals than we did last year. Turns out that of the top 11, 7 of 11 had 1 player who accounted for 30% or more of their sack total. Again, this is just from the top 12 teams or roughly 1/3rd of the league. My expectation is that a similar percentage would carry out through the league. Also, there were 2 out of 11 teams where 1 player accounted for more than 45% of the teams sack total. Given that Abraham's total of 47% was the highest of any team in the top 11, I would say that yes, we probably do need another pass rusher on the roster. However, with Biermann having a year under his belt and Babineaux & Davis returning I say we have some pieces in place to take some of the sack pressure off of JA55.

Now to JA98. Is he the real player that needs to go, or at least be benched and labled a bust? While researching I found another interesting tidbit. Of the top 11 teams in sacks, 7 primarily run a 4-3 defense like we do. So I will be using those 7 teams here. The 6 teams besides us are: Philly, Minnesota, Tennessee, NY Giants, Carolina, & Seattle. Out of these 7 teams, 5.5 had a DE lead them in sacks (Seattle actually had a tie between a DE & DT for the sack lead, so they get half credit). The other 1.5 teams were led in sacks by a DT. Now this is where things get really interesting and have relevance to JA98. ONLY 1 TEAM OUT OF THE 7 HAD A STARTING DE FINISH 2ND ON THE TEAM IN SACKS. Let me repeat that. Only 1 team, out of the 7 teams that ran a 4-3 defense, and finished with more sacks than we did, had a starting DE finish 2nd in sacks. 3 of those teams had a backup DE finish 2nd in sacks and 3 teams had a starting DT finish 2nd in sacks (I'm including Seattle as a team with a starting DT as 2nd in sacks since there DE who was tied for 1st was only a part time starter).

So, do we REALLY need to banish and keep calling a solid run playing LDE a bust, when his play is similar to other starting LDE's on the top 11 sack recording teams of 2008? I don't think so. Most teams DO NOT RELY on their LDE to rush the passer. They do get help from backup DE's and starting DTs though. This is why I feel we have the key elements in place on the roster in Babineaux, Davis, & Biermann. It's the same model that other successful pass rushing teams are following. I believe that this is why TD & Mike Smith both say that they are comfortable in JA98's abilities and his growth.

So do we need a DE early in this draft? I think the answer is absolutely not.

Do we draft a college pass rushing specialist in rounds 5 or 6 (where there is a good amount of quality pass rushing DEs that should be available in this range)? Sure, it would make sense.

Here is the list of 4-3 defenses that ranked in the top 11 in sacks last season with their sack leaders:

Philadelphia led by DE Howard, 2nd was a backup DE

Minnesota led by DE Allen, 2nd was a starting DT

Tennessee led by DT Haynesworth, 2nd was a backup DE

NY Giants led by DE Tuck, 2nd was the other starting DE

Carolina led by DE Peppers, 2nd was a backup DE

Seattle led by DE Tapp and DT Mebane

Atlanta led by DE Anderson, 2nd was a tie between a starting DT & a backup DE

Very well thought out post, I agree with the main point that we should not draft a DE this year, notice I say this year, but focus on fixing the rest of the defense especially DT, OLB and safety. I agree also that 47% is way too much. What happens if Abe has a major injury? The answer is we are screwed. Unfortunately McKay has left us a defense with huge holes that TD is trying to fill. If Jamaal does not work out this year we address it next. Hopefully others like Davis and Biermann can step up as well. In fact I think Davis will be our starting LDE this year.

I do disagree with your contention that we are expecting too much from the 8th pick in the draft. That is ridiculous. If you are drafted that high in the draft you are paid commensurate with that draft slot and you are expected to perform at that level. A DE drafted that high is expected to play at a high level both against the run and especially for the ability to produce sacks. This is a quote from McKay indicating what the Falcons thought they were getting with the 8th pick: "However, we are bringing Jamal in to start at left defensive end position. I think that was what excited us about him. Not only does he play the run well, but he also provides pass rush. Last year he had 13.5 sacks, which shows he can do both."

We cannot cut Jamaal both for cap ramifications and his potential but he needs to produce at a high level this year. I agree also that we should take a chance on a pure pass rush artist later in this draft in the hope that we may find a diamond in the rough. Still I shudder to think what happens to our defense as it stands today if Abe goes down for any length of time.

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Good post, but DE's are not measured by sacks alone. One can argue that getting constant pressure on our opponents QB and disrupting their offence is more important that what shows up on the stats sheet.

Living in the UK I have to rely on watching highlights of our games in addition to maybe a couple of live games on TV if I'm lucky. However many of the bloggers here who obviously get to see more of the Falcons than I, especially live when you can really analyse a player say that the criticism of JA98 is largely due to his lack of effort. Although I for one feel that he should be given more time to mature in this league, his draft position not withstanding.

He's only played 2 seasons & came out of college as a junior, so at only 23 it's fair to assume that he may need time before he reaches hs potential.

With regards to backup DE's, in most instances they are "pass rushing specialists" who are brought on when says its 3rd & long and they can pin their ears back and just concentrate on getting to the QB.

Bottom line: until the organisation gives up on a player, I'll stay loyal till the end.

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I've seen a lot on this board saying we need a DE in this draft. We HAVE to upgrade the pass rush. We MUST replace JA98. Well, can that be backed up based on facts?

First off, how was our pass rush last year? Well, a quick check of NFL stats reveals that we had the 11th MOST sacks of all the NFL teams. That's not too bad, top third of the league. So, why is everyone saying that a DE and a pass rushing specialist are must drafts in round 1 this year? It seems that most just feel that only the 2 starting DEs should be providing the bulk of the sacks. But is that REALLY the case? Is that what happens for other teams?

One of the best arguments I've seen is from jaymadd1, and it's the reason I started the research I'm posting here. Jaymadd1 has said that we need another DE because JA55 had put up 47% of our sack total last year. I know he is correct in that, but I wondered if that were an extreme case. So I checked on the teams that put up better sack totals than we did last year. Turns out that of the top 11, 7 of 11 had 1 player who accounted for 30% or more of their sack total. Again, this is just from the top 12 teams or roughly 1/3rd of the league. My expectation is that a similar percentage would carry out through the league. Also, there were 2 out of 11 teams where 1 player accounted for more than 45% of the teams sack total. Given that Abraham's total of 47% was the highest of any team in the top 11, I would say that yes, we probably do need another pass rusher on the roster. However, with Biermann having a year under his belt and Babineaux & Davis returning I say we have some pieces in place to take some of the sack pressure off of JA55.

Now to JA98. Is he the real player that needs to go, or at least be benched and labled a bust? While researching I found another interesting tidbit. Of the top 11 teams in sacks, 7 primarily run a 4-3 defense like we do. So I will be using those 7 teams here. The 6 teams besides us are: Philly, Minnesota, Tennessee, NY Giants, Carolina, & Seattle. Out of these 7 teams, 5.5 had a DE lead them in sacks (Seattle actually had a tie between a DE & DT for the sack lead, so they get half credit). The other 1.5 teams were led in sacks by a DT. Now this is where things get really interesting and have relevance to JA98. ONLY 1 TEAM OUT OF THE 7 HAD A STARTING DE FINISH 2ND ON THE TEAM IN SACKS. Let me repeat that. Only 1 team, out of the 7 teams that ran a 4-3 defense, and finished with more sacks than we did, had a starting DE finish 2nd in sacks. 3 of those teams had a backup DE finish 2nd in sacks and 3 teams had a starting DT finish 2nd in sacks (I'm including Seattle as a team with a starting DT as 2nd in sacks since there DE who was tied for 1st was only a part time starter).

So, do we REALLY need to banish and keep calling a solid run playing LDE a bust, when his play is similar to other starting LDE's on the top 11 sack recording teams of 2008? I don't think so. Most teams DO NOT RELY on their LDE to rush the passer. They do get help from backup DE's and starting DTs though. This is why I feel we have the key elements in place on the roster in Babineaux, Davis, & Biermann. It's the same model that other successful pass rushing teams are following. I believe that this is why TD & Mike Smith both say that they are comfortable in JA98's abilities and his growth.

So do we need a DE early in this draft? I think the answer is absolutely not.

Do we draft a college pass rushing specialist in rounds 5 or 6 (where there is a good amount of quality pass rushing DEs that should be available in this range)? Sure, it would make sense.

Here is the list of 4-3 defenses that ranked in the top 11 in sacks last season with their sack leaders:

Philadelphia led by DE Howard, 2nd was a backup DE

Minnesota led by DE Allen, 2nd was a starting DT

Tennessee led by DT Haynesworth, 2nd was a backup DE

NY Giants led by DE Tuck, 2nd was the other starting DE

Carolina led by DE Peppers, 2nd was a backup DE

Seattle led by DE Tapp and DT Mebane

Atlanta led by DE Anderson, 2nd was a tie between a starting DT & a backup DE

JA has two sacks in two years and reportedly, if memory serves me right, declined to be coached up/tutored by one of our defensive coaches, or something like that. Not a good sign, and he is one year away imo from the "bust" tag becoming official. Saying that he's decent against the run is grasping for straws imo. He's not an impact player in the run game.

I am of the opinion that we have plenty of depth at DE but only one legitimate starter in Abraham. The scary part about that is that Abe has had injury problems throughout his career and is now 31 years old. I don't want us to spend a pick on DE in rounds 2-6 because they would probably be on a similar level as the depth guys we have now. But if a stud like English (or MJ if he's high on our board) falls to 24 and the value at our need positions (NT, S, OLB) is low, as it looks like it will be, then I think we have to pull the trigger on an eventual replacement for the aging abraham and an immediate, significant upgrade to our pass rush.

Obviously DE is not the only position important to a pass rush, and you don't need two 15 sack guys at the ends, which I think is the point of your post. But the reality is this. Anderson in not a good DE and probably never will be. Abraham is 31and rarely plays a full season, although he's been fortunate recently. We don't really need more depth, but we definitely could use another stud. And if one is available at 24, and our need positions are of low value at 24, I'd love to see us draft a stud like English or possibly MJ.

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Thanks for the reference Robb. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of us getting a DE in the first. I hope that JA98 improves and is consistently productive. I still dont think that an improved JA98, Davis,or even Biermann would provide the pass rush ability of a players like English or MIcheal Johnson. I do think that DT would help improve our pass rush, but i think that the best DT of this draft are likely to be gone before we pick at 24 (Raji & Jerry). I still have hope that Lewis can be effective as a DT if we rotated players like we did last year. I think that we do have the luxury of taking a DE in the first because I feel like a good portion of our holes will be filled up with our pre-draft roster. I dont think that the FO would let our starters walk if he didnt have confidence in our current young players as you stated, but that also leads me to thinking that we will have alot of options with our pick at 24. TD has been looking at a few DE, that are ranked pretty high on draft boards like English, Micheal Johnson, and Barwin. I still want us to go DE in the first, but whichever way we go I know that it will be a good decision.

Just a Day in the Mind of Jaymadd :D

I think I have to add Connor Barwin to the list of DEs that intrigue me at 24. He's a tad bit light in the britches, but ran a 4.47 at his pro day.

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JA has two sacks in two years and reportedly, if memory serves me right, declined to be coached up/tutored by one of our defensive coaches, or something like that. Not a good sign, and he is one year away imo from the "bust" tag becoming official. Saying that he's decent against the run is grasping for straws imo. He's not an impact player in the run game.

I am of the opinion that we have plenty of depth at DE but only one legitimate starter in Abraham. The scary part about that is that Abe has had injury problems throughout his career and is now 31 years old. I don't want us to spend a pick on DE in rounds 2-6 because they would probably be on a similar level as the depth guys we have now. But if a stud like English (or MJ if he's high on our board) falls to 24 and the value at our need positions (NT, S, OLB) is low, as it looks like it will be, then I think we have to pull the trigger on an eventual replacement for the aging abraham and an immediate, significant upgrade to our pass rush.

Obviously DE is not the only position important to a pass rush, and you don't need two 15 sack guys at the ends, which I think is the point of your post. But the reality is this. Anderson in not a good DE and probably never will be. Abraham is 31and rarely plays a full season, although he's been fortunate recently. We don't really need more depth, but we definitely could use another stud. And if one is available at 24, and our need positions are of low value at 24, I'd love to see us draft a stud like English or possibly MJ.

Even if Anderson doesn't cut it as a starter at DE, he's legit depth at the position and we can still run 5 deep there. We just don't need to worry about addressing this position when we could use starting quality players to at least push for starting jobs at 5 other positions on defense & could use quality depth at the MLB position as well.

JA55's injury history scares me as well, but nobody we draft at #24 is going to be able to replace what he brings to the field for us anyway.

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But this is the year that Abraham won't play more than 8 games. Remember, he plays 2 seasons of 12 or more games then has one season where he plays 8 or less. It's like a fact or something. A pattern so to speak.

We can keep our hope up and just maybe the pattern will be broken with the Falcons. :D:lol:

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Even if Anderson doesn't cut it as a starter at DE, he's legit depth at the position and we can still run 5 deep there. We just don't need to worry about addressing this position when we could use starting quality players to at least push for starting jobs at 5 other positions on defense & could use quality depth at the MLB position as well.

JA55's injury history scares me as well, but nobody we draft at #24 is going to be able to replace what he brings to the field for us anyway.

We can say that about alot of players coming in as rookies. I dont think that English or MJ will be JA55 right now, but could eventually take his reigns, we cant keep him on our team forever.

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Thank you Robb4242 for putting a football related post on this board and nice research.

The one thing that the stats do not allow for is the amount of time the opposing QB's have to throw. This is not an officialy stat but it is obvious to anyone sitting in the stands or to the announcers when I watch their away games. Other than that I do agree with everything you have said. The RDE typically gets a lot of the sacks because he is the quicker pass rusher and so he is lined up on what is most QB's blindside. People say what about Abe getting old or hurt but he takes a very limited number of snaps. The guys in the rotation have made this successful. I believe DT should be the top priority in the draft. You can account for one side or another but when a DT pushes in the pocket from the middle the QB's space is virtually cut in half. I dont' care about sacks that much. They are for fantasy football leagues, probowls, and to give you something to cheer about. I would be happy with a DT that always has to be accounted for because he will be in the QB's face and now a team has at least two players to contend with so now you can have the OLB blitzing.

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We can say that about alot of players coming in as rookies. I dont think that English or MJ will be JA55 right now, but could eventually take his reigns, we cant keep him on our team forever.

Same could be said about some of the guys who are 4th/5th round picks. They may take a little more development time, but there are a couple there I belive will become solid NFL pass rushers & have the ability to play 3 downs.

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Same could be said about some of the guys who are 4th/5th round picks. They may take a little more development time, but there are a couple there I belive will become solid NFL pass rushers & have the ability to play 3 downs.

I am not disagreeing with you I just think that MJ or English, even Sidbury would take less time, especially since Abe is 31, and JA98 is coming up on his make or break 3rd year.

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I would like to consider something a little different. To Compare the same type defense to other teams doesn't seem quite right to me. Here's why. I believe that we played the better passing teams later in the season. As we concentrated our efforts to sack the QB it appeared to open up running lanes and allowed thier running backs to gain huge chunks of yardage. Now some of these RBs hadn't gained that many yards against other teams previously last year, but they looked good against us. There are many areas of improvement needed, but I believe a combination of run and pass D is strongly needed IMO. I don't know if the let down was due to injuries or a tougher 2nd half. Some of you stat hounds might want to check this out and post it up. I really believe that one year can make a difference. Some of our guy's should be be a lot better. Go Birds!!!!

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