When I was in high school, I was a defensive end. I wasn’t all that great and I only started my senior year. But I didn’t really get overly caught up in the NFL until I had already started college. In all honesty, it’s one of my greatest regrets. If I knew as much about the defensive end position then as I do now, I would have started much earlier and may have even gotten into college with a fancy scholarship. But now I’m left watching my favorite team on television.
Last year, the defense had a hole on the line of scrimmage. John Abraham was and has been a great pass rusher in a long Falcons career. Besides him, there wasn’t really any pass rush option anywhere. Babineaux is useful up the middle, but 3 sacks all season hardly qualifies as a legitimate pass rush. It was no surprise when Atlanta drafted two defensive ends in the draft.
But I honestly believe that the next man up is right under your nose. Kroy Biermann is the utility guy. He’s so versatile, he is used absolutely everywhere. He can drop back in coverage, he can rush, and he can stuff the run. Many fans don’t see him as a pass rusher because of a lack in sacks. But let’s clear things up: After he was drafted in 2008, he was splitting snaps with Jamaal Anderson. In 2011, he was splitting snaps with Ray Edwards. Both of them were busts that got a considerable amount of playing time. That’s playing time that Kroy did not get. Not to mention when he is on the field, he doesn’t rush every down. John Abraham wasn’t pulled into coverage nearly as often because he was obviously primarily a pass rusher. I’m not saying that Kroy could get 10 sacks every season, but I do think he can be a 5-7 sacks every season while being able to help with the run defense problem and drop into zone coverage.
If you do not believe he could be an effective pass rusher, I encourage you to watch the Falcons-Saints game in the Georgia Dome from last year. You’ll see Drew Brees constantly getting rushed by Kroy Biermann. No sacks, but he was definitely a difference maker.
At the very least, the Falcons could get a lot of production form Biermann while building up either Malachi Goodman or Jonathan Massaquoi for a future starting role.
Who would be your choice to take over the defensive end position?