Final Eagles Pass-Rusher Rankings

Trent Cole had one sack in the Eagles’ first 10 games. He has seven in the last five, including three against the Bears.

For most of the year, we kept track of how productive Eagles defensive players were when rushing the passer.

With all 16 regular-season games and the playoff loss to the Saints in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for one final tally.




Sacks, hurries and batted passes are tracked by the Eagles' coaches. The Penalties column tracks instances when the defender forces an offensive holding or an intentional grounding call. Chances are tracked by Pro Football Focus. And I calculated the final column as the percentage of times a defender did something (sack, hurry, batted ball, forced penalty) to affect the passer, given the opportunities.

 
Sacks
Hurries
Batted
Penalties
Chances
Pressure %
Vinny Curry411332368.9%
Brandon Graham46021756.9%
Trent Cole915324666.2%
Connor Barwin581114445.6%
Fletcher Cox321306134.4%
Bennie Logan27102983.4%
Cedric Thornton110204542.9%
Clifton Geathers03001312.3%
Damion Square0010781.3%

Vinny Curry tops the list with a pressure percentage of 8.9 percent. But he was quiet at the end of the season. In the Eagles' final seven games (playoffs included), Curry had no sacks and three hurries. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles try to grow him into the scheme this offseason or consider moving him.

Brandon Graham never got much of an opportunity, but he finished second. He ended the season on a high note, notching a sack, four hurries and a forced fumble in the final three games. Graham wants to start, and it seems highly unlikely that he gets that chance in Philadelphia. The former first-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Trent Cole was easily the Eagles' best pass-rusher in the second half of the season with eight sacks and eight hurries in the team's final seven games. His future will likely be determined by what the Eagles do at the outside linebacker position in free agency and the draft. Cole will turn 32 next season.

Connor Barwin's calling card was batting down passes. Because he played so many snaps, Barwin still got plenty of pass-rush chances. His true value though is his versatility.

The defensive linemen certainly have room to improve in terms of pass-rush, although they held up well against the run for most of the season. Fletcher Cox led the team in hurries, but his production dipped down the stretch. In the final five games, Cox had no sacks and one hurry. Cedric Thornton has said he wants to improve his pass-rush. He was outstanding against the run.

Bennie Logan had some good moments, but his pass-rush needs to get better going into 2014 too. Clifton Geathers is a free agent, and Damion Square will be battling for a roster spot next summer.

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  • Token

    Perfect example of stats in a vacuum.

    Coles sack numbers are very inflated. He got all his sacks in a span of 3 games. One being the Bears fiasco. The other two against the lines of Washington and Arizona. The vast majority of the time Cole was ineffective and neutralized.

    I recall at least 3 Barwin sacks were broken plays where he was left unblocked. But we know hes not a pass rusher.

    Really hoping they can fill this pass rusher void.

    • dmabram

      Yes, also players who are inserted mostly in obvious passing situations (Curry) are of course going to have their pressure % higher. It doesn’t mean much.

      • RIP illa

        Well in Curry’s case you have to take into account that his numbers are equal or better than the guys who are always inserted in passing situations also. So that kinda throws your theory off!!! If his numbers were better than Thornton or Geathers but not better than Cole or Cox and the article was, “Eagles Best Pass Rusher Off The Bench”, then I think your point is much more valid. Yet w/ limited snaps, his numbers show that he has been effective overall.

        • dmabram

          The only chart I see is comparing some players who play on both rushing and passing downs and some who play mostly on passing downs. You may be right, Curry may well be better than other guys who are only inserted in passing situations, I don’t really know. I just know that calculating pressure% in this way doesn’t make sense unless you make an apples to apple comparison.

    • Tom W

      maybe he was adjusting to the position first 8 games and hit his peak late in year … also had a sack in the saints game.

      Cole is here for 1 more year bc of the dead money .. 6.6 million.

      Graham is probably gone after june 1 because we ain’t resigning him and he is too short and stubby. and he doesn’t wanna be here.

      draft a stud and let him learn and add some muscle and learn technique behind barwin and cole for a year.

    • anon

      You’d penalize T Cole for having several multi-sack games? T. Cole will be here next season at the very least, i think knowing the system he’ll contribute some more sacks — he’s no longer just a dedicated pass rusher.

  • Clamdigger

    Not sure I agree that Graham won’t start here. Cole is getting up there in age and eventually someone has to transition in to his spot. That spot is a glorified 4-3 DE, really, with Barwin being the joker OLB. Graham has been able to set the edge and was incredibly effective down the stretch in 2012 when he was given more snaps.

    • Corey Dawson

      Totally agree here. Like Token says below, Cole’s numbers are inflated. If the coaches think Graham can become more proficient in the 20-30% of times he needs to drop into coverage on pass plays, we should try to capitalize on Cole’s production numbers this year and his reputation and move him. Cole’s cap numbers for the next 4 years are 6.6, 11.6, 12.6, 14.0. Great player, love him, wear his jersey most of the season, but that’s way more than it is worth for him playing OLB and what he’s currently bringing to this team. That kind of money could be paying for Byrd or another top notch safety.

      • Tom W

        Neither of them fit what chip wants at olb or what any nfl team wants there. they are d ends in a 4 3. graham’s contract is up next year so he is gone … either this year or next. he wants to start. he doesn’t wanna be here playing backup.

        Cole’s dead money hit is way too much this year too cut or I bet even trade him … next we yes we can talk about both. if we trade him we still take dead money hit this year. Maybe we could trade graham for a 4th or 5th but I highly doubt it because who wants a former first rounder for a year before he becomes a free agent and before you get to see if he can start.

    • anon

      It’s not really, if you have a guy that can’t cover opposing OCs will see that and you’ll get passed on all day, did you see how TEs ate our lunch this year (except for graham we did a nice job there). If all he can do is rush we’ll get exploited.

      • Will

        yup…We need an OLB who can do both things well….if he can’t rush we get exploited…if he can’t cover we get exploited…needs to be able to handle both…

        • anon

          Yeah that’s what makes that position hard, like safety to draft for. But agree we need a developmental player behind cole / barwin interested to see how we get that.

          • Will

            These 3 position are key to improving upon this year defense OLB, FS, SS….will be interesting how they address each need…

          • anon

            I think Howie will try to move Graham for a late rounder — hopefully he tries to move Curry too. I understand people love him but he’s only ok but would have actual value in a 43. If we got a 4th and a 4th (more likely 5th and 6th) i’d be happy. We can use those picks to move up in the middle rounds.

          • JofreyRice

            you think a 5th or 6th rounder is going to be able to contribute passrush in big spots like Curry did? I mean, this list tells you he was their most disruptive player on passing downs.

            If not, even if he’s not the perfect 3-4 2 gap DE, he’s still helping the club out on 20 important snaps a game.

          • Clamdigger

            Curry passes the eye test. Scheme fit or not, his first step is absolutely ridiculous.

          • GEAGLE

            And when he has your snap count timed, your only real option is to Get called for a Holding penalty, unless you want to serve your QB up on a platter

          • anon

            no sacks in the last 7 games? That’s almost half the season. Maybe he draws more double coverage etc. but if he’s a liability against the run and isn’t getting to the QB…

          • JofreyRice

            I don’t think he draws much double blocking attention, but in fairness, I don’t think it’s fair to just look at his sack production, considering he averaged about 24 snaps/game. Of those, PFF charts him as having about 16 opportunities to rush the passer in that final 7 game stretch. Although he didn’t put up any sacks, he did post 4 QB hits and 7 hurries over that period.

            With so little passrush, why trade away a guy that has that as the strength of his game, for another player that is probably not going to be able to have the same effect? Our boy Brandon Graham has 11.5 sacks in his entire career–Curry almost got half that in limited action in his second season.

          • anon

            Why keep him if he’s not playing? I understand he’s got pass-rush ability but given how anemic our pass rush was this year you’d think Billy D would try to use him more (assuming he’s not b/c if technique issues) I guess he could learn more in the offseason to improve his chances of starting. But i think we could get GMs interested given the flashes that curry has shown on tape and get a NT or other line help.

          • JofreyRice

            But, he did play. 20 snaps a game. That’s significant. It’s not like the guy was inactive every week, like he was as a rookie, b/c of Washburn. Just because he’s behind Fletcher Cox and Ced Thornton doesn’t mean he’s not worth having on the squad. You’re talking about getting other GMs interested, for what, a 5th or 6th rounder? Not good enough. Regardless of his limitations, he’s shown he’s productive in spot duty, and does one thing really well.

            He’s not an all-pro 3-4 DE, but if he can beat an interior OL in a big spot, and pressure the QB, that’s a help to the club. Not just anyone you find in the draft can do that. We may just have to agree to disagree here, and that’s fine. Look at Sheldon Richardson–a fantastic athlete at DL for the Jets, and a guy that had a great rookie year, in a lot of people’s eyes. 4 sacks all season, starting from game one and with 500+ pass rush opportunities. It’s not that easy.

          • RIP illa

            Your NT may help keep the QB from stepping up in the pocket (and I want us to get a legit NT) but Thornton or even putting Logan a LDE, for passing downs, will make our pass rush less effective than having Curry out there. It’s not like RTs have to really worry about Barwin, thus taking pressure off the LDE. Need a guy w/ an explosive 1st step that can penetrate…Curry.

            And Davis as been anal about having guys be able to 2 gap, as the scheme calls for, and not catering to their abilities. That’s the only reason why Curry didn’t play more. Well that and the fact that we weren’t the greatest at keeping teams in 3rd and long consistently enough.

          • GEAGLE

            I understand why we as fans want a 340lb traditional NT, but I honestly don’t think that’s Billy’s plan…

            I don’t think it’s an accident that Logan was drafted to be our NT. I think stylistically we will add another Benny Logan/jay Ratliff type of NT…
            ..
            Every eagle fan is looking at the 340lb prospects, but if we want to know what NT we will draft, i think we would be more accurate by looking at prospects similar size/frame, arm levity to Logan…

            NT will become more and more extinct as teams play more and more high tempo offense..If we play against the Patriots and use a 340lb NT, they will exploit the hell out of him, by speeding up the tempo so we can’t sub him out on 3rd down…I believe we want another NT, who can be credible against the run, but provide more pass rush then the Casey Hampton types..

            Logan May not have the traditional weight we all like for the position…but since he entered the starting lineup, we pretty much shut down every running game we face…and over reacting to getting run on by the saints is a mistake, because our Nickle is what got run on…and in reality, if Logan is on the bench, and replaced by Boykin(Nickle package) and we are facing an offense that has it’s two blocking TEs in the game, we will always get ran Over…
            ..
            Logan was so much better against the run, then the way people are making it sound, over reacting to getting trampled by the saints…

          • RIP illa

            I don’t see it. Seen too many times where Logan had been put on skates in the run game and too many times where he gets stonewalled during the pass rush. Size is nice and doesn’t always translate to strength but I think it can have some merit. McCullers or Carrethers drafted by us and I’m a happy man!!! And for both of those two, it’s more about strength and taking on blocker(s) than just size. No we may not want them in on passing situations, but we def do on running situations and to the benefit of us…hopefully keeping teams in 3rd and long situations , more so than we do now.

            Also, I really think Thornton followed by Barwin were our best run defenders. W/ the exception of the Saints game, teams had a very hard time running right against us. But seemed to have a lot easier time running left and in the middle.

            I would be all for Logan or another Logan sized player, if the gains in our pass rush were significant enough to make the losses in the run D palatable. But w/ Logan (IMO), They are not. I think some fans get Wolff syndrome w/ Logan…meaning, the guy previously in front of him was so bad, that now players who play just so-so or average, look like legit (lack of a better term) started by default. Also, I think Wolff has way more to be a better player than Logan. I see it very probable that Logan will be a JAG, that provides good depth, if he does not show considerable gains in game.

          • GEAGLE

            Ok, you say that Logan wasn’t good enough, yet since he started our base defense was top 10’at shutting down the run..That wasn’t the best it’s going to get for Logan, he will get stronger and he will improve…If we are DRAFTING a Dlinemen, I expect him to look a lot like Logan…if we want to add some 340lb beef to have on our bench for some key short yardage situations, I would expect it to come as a very cheap free agent, a guy who under performed his rookie contract, who will try to convince teams that he needs a change of scenery, guys like Terrence Cody…

            I don’t think we are drafting any BIg Boys who we can never use to rush the passer…we knew SOAP wasn’t the answer, and there were TONS of BIG Talented NTs last year, why did we draft Benny Logan instead? My guess is because our NTs will look more like jay Ratliff and less like Casey Hampton???but it’s just a theory for now. We will know by the end of this offseason
            ..
            But personally, I will be looking at the prospects who are about 310lbs with Long arms who look they have a frame that can get up to 320, because IMO that’s what our FO will be looking for

          • RIP illa

            No offense, but you’re just repeating yourself now. I’m not arguing that we won’t draft another Logan-sized player, cause I think we will. I just don’t like it. As far as our rush D ranking and and Logan…once again…Soap sucked!!! Logan’s an improvement over Soap, but not nearly the player that some have billed him to be. Also, I think it’s the opposite effect of the Saints game. We played a lot to stop the run this year, meaning that is what we focused on. It was a combined front and effort. Not just a plug Logan in and everything gets better!!! He could very well put on more weight and get stronger, that would mean a considerable improvement in his game, as I said earlier. But for now, I can only go off of what has been instead of what could be. Logan has no distinguishable features other than arm length and wearing the number 18 in college!!! There’s nothing intoxicating about his game WHATSOEVER!!! The kid has shown to be a try hard type good technique player. There’s nothing wrong w/ that at all. However if we’re trying to make hybrid NTs (as you suggest) then after his 1st year and him being our prototype…we need to come up w/ a 2.0 version or have him change into that 2.0!!! If not, then this kid would be a good depth guy. I’ll go a little off on my comparison and compare him to Avant. Just w/o the distinguishable characteristic…like Avant has for his hands. Meaning, you know you have a decent-good player, it you also know that there’s better out there!!! You know you can use a guy like that on your team and in your locker room, but you still know that guy can be upgraded!!! I get that we hope every player is really good and want them to be great for us, but just by going off of what we’ve seen, we can’t realistically say that…’yes, Logan’s the guy we want manning the middle for years to come. We’re set!!!’ There’s nothing from this past season that points to that!!! Does he suck…no. Is he really good…no. He’s middle of the road right now and I really do think that had more to do w/ his predecessor than anything.

          • MightyJoeBanner

            I agree Logan was great this year. Anyone saying different wasn’t paying close enough attention. With that said why wouldn’t the eagles consider taking a NT to play 15-20 snaps a game for 3 and short/GL type situations. With that said:

          • Token

            Because you dont give away natural pass rushers especially when you have a team that cant get to the passer.

            Its really odd the players you take up a cause for vs. the ones you want to throw away.

          • GEAGLE

            Even if he is never more then a situational pass rusher, every team has room for one of those…but Curry’s two gapping really got better as the year went on…I think it would be a HUGE mistake to trade away Curry before we can see how much more he can grow into this scheme….because in reality, you ain’t ever going to find a 4-3 DE, who can just put on weight, slide inside and two gap to our liking in one offseason..everyone was transitioning this year, but his transition was one of the hardest, and for those that know just how difficult the transition we asked of him was, they know he played as well as we could have ever hopes, so soon in the transition process…..not to mention he was essentially a rookie this year

          • MightyJoeBanner

            5. DT Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech – Do not typecast Ellis as a run defending nose tackle because of his size (6’1.5/351). Ellis is an upfield disruptor who wins with upper body strength off the line and lower body push to keep his opposition on skates. The Louisiana Tech product is actually quite nimble on his feet, exhibiting a variety of counter moves, including an inside spin move. The combination of the two put Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard on his back in one on one drills.

          • Clamdigger

            That’s not true. Most 3-4 defenses are hybrids that play a variation of 4 down linemen in their nickel package, where they line up their 3-4 DE’s as 4-3 DT’s and OLB’s outside.

            You could have your nickel package consisting of Barwin, Curry, Cox and Graham. Teams play as much 11 personnel as ever (roughly 50%), so your nickel linemen (and nickel CB) play quite a bit.

          • anon

            I think we play nickel quite a bit (half the time since that’s about the number of snaps boykin gets). It makes it worse that their stats are like that considering the amount we play with 3 down lineman. You’d think they’d be more effective pass rushers. Would be interesting to see if the sacks came when we were in 4-3 or 3-4, if they all came when we had 4 down lineman that probable tells us something too..

          • RIP illa

            I can see you trying to make that case for Graham’s lack of sacks and whatnot, but it goes out the window for Curry. Our Nickel package was more 3-3-5, through the season than 4-2-5. So 3 down linemen. Trust me…was screaming every game for more 4-2-5. Still Davis did blitz a lot, even though he ran a lot of zone behind it :-( Yet as JR said, Curry is our most disruptive pass rusher. Gotta keep him, especially since we lack depth along the line anyway. If we can get teams in 3rd and long, more regularly, and draft a legit pass rusher, then we need Curry out there. Or else we just leave opposing O’s to only “worry” about the right side of our line w/ the drafted pass rusher/Cole and Cox.

        • Clamdigger

          Every scheme varies, but I think you’re overplaying the coverage aspect of OLBs. They’re typically rushing, jamming and/or covering the flats. TEs running through the middle of the field are often going to be picked up by ILBs/Safeties rather than OLBs.

          A lot of times, DCs will try to use a combination to bracket the better TEs, but you’re not often going to see a positive defensive play where an OLB is single covering a TE.

  • Boogeyman

    Clinton-Dix will not be around at pick 22. Could they really use that pick to trade for Dion Jordan? Certainly would help, but not solve the edge rush need.

    • Tom W

      No. some idiot reporter started this dumb rumor in miami. he would cost 16 mil in dead money to miaimi aint happening.

      • Will

        Dion Jordan? yeah your right a pipe-dream with that kinda hit…

      • GEAGLE

        I can’t believe it was actually a reporter who started such a worthless rumor…I thought it was some fan on twitter..for a reporter to print such nonsense without knowing about 16mil in dead money is friggin Jason LaConfora type of Embarressing….funny how that blowhard won’t even mention Howies name anymore lol

    • GEAGLE

      If haha Dix is on the board, I doubt he will be more valuable to our defense then the pass rushing OLB you can get at 22

  • Pennguino

    I would like to see Conner get more pass rushing opps. Draft a cover LB. He had 11.5 sacks in 2011. If they get another cover backer that can rush also then the Oline will never know who is coming and who is covering. If he is not getting to the QB he is at least knocking the ball down.

    • anon

      Think finding a coverage guy is the hardest part about the OLB position.

    • JofreyRice

      I wouldn’t. He’s terrible at it. Can’t get near the passer, which is part of the reason Houston let him go. If you take away the batted passes as a metric for pressure, his numbers would be even more anemic. Just doesn’t do anything when given the chance to go get the QB–blocked by TEs, or pushed way past the pocket.

      I like how they’re using him. He’s a solid drop linebacker. You really need a terror on the other side, and for Cox to step up the interior pressure. Once you have that going, you can do all kinds of fun twisting and stunting like the Niners do with Aldon and Justin Smith.

      • GEAGLE

        I already love when we blitz our ILBs and send Cox looping around on twist stunts, taking on OTs…that will only be a more potent pressure package for us, as cox continues to grow, and Cole is replaced with a real terror who can use his speed to burn Guards when he is crashing inside so Cox can loop around outside….really really liked those Blitz packages, and they have potential to be even more potent as Kendrick,Cox grow, and Cole is upgraded

    • Token

      Why? Conner is a terrible pass rusher. Most of his sacks this year came on unblocked plays.

      Hes always getting shut down by a single blocker. Even a RB or TE.

      Connor does other things well, thats why he has a job. Pass rushing isnt gonna be one of them though.

  • Will

    Need an OLB who can edge rush and is not a liability in coverage…if they go Dion Jordan trade Graham for him and keep that #22 PICK….

    • UKEagle99

      Too much dead money for Miami to eat to trade Jordan, he stays put.

      • Tom W

        exactly need to stop the silly dion talk .. dolphins dont even have a gm yet.

  • Tom W

    Graham is probably gone after June 1st.

    Travis Long may be a capable backup.

    Free agency offers little beyond Orapko who we aren’t getting.

    Draft offers a lot of nice prospects. Barr and Mack will be long gone by 22 after strong combine showings .. but could be intriguing as trade up candidates at 11 w tennessee … personally I dont see them dropping past buffalo.

    AttaBoy, Van Noy, Ford, Sam, Breslin, Jeffcoat … Crawford and Powell are too guys I gotta look at more on film. both shoulda stayed in … crawford was a fullback before so he has crazy strength … Powell really intrigues ..was top player recruited in country by meyer at 6 5 at olb and te. shoulda stayed in. tore acl junior but came back and had good not elite production. left yr early. could be around in 4th or 5th round and provide some serious upside late.

    Crawford just declared but is only 6 1 like Breslin who also has foot and season ending hip problems. buyer beware and usc guys worry me. Crawford Will blow up combine but is short and stubby

    Sam is a tweener and may have benefited from ealy on the other side and may be one year wonder. can he make switch to olb?

    Jeffcoat scares me cause he takes plays off, mentally tough?, texas players outside Vaccaro have poor nfl record last 5-10 yrs. lotta more hype than pro production. dunno if he can even cover.

    Ford is a tad undersized as well but dominated against FSU in a big game …was asked to drop a bit in coverage .. will be around in rd 3 probably. like him.

    Trent Murphy and Trevor Reilly are ideal size and height like Barwin but not elite athletes … read Murphy’s sports illustrated article and you will fall in love. needs to run well at combine or will probably be a d end. mean SOB … wish we had an extra second rounder to take him bc this city would love him.

    Really pining for AttaBoy or Van Noy. both 6 3 240s … long and athletic I think the nigerian will blow up after interviewing at the senior bowl and combine and maybe move into the first round… both very good all around olb … attaboy had two years of double digit sacks and absolutely dominated clemson and georgia this year … van noy had an amazing junior year and good senior yr but was banged up and double teamed alot but still played well. Dont know if either last to 54 in second round.

    • theycallmerob

      I like your last paragraph a lot

      • Tom W

        Seeing as Chip said that Logan and barkley were their best two interviews and we drafted both … both the nigerian and atta boy could please him a lot. smart guys, good guys, long arms, athletic, leaders. seniors who coulda came out after junior yr and stayed in.

        maybe type of guy we trade up in second round to get in late 30s.

        • theycallmerob

          I’d almost rather trade out of 22 and go back a few, there’s a lot of 2nd and 3rd rd talent

          • anon

            Yeah me too feel like 22nd is too far back to get the “best” at any position.

          • GEAGLE

            22 is too far back to find a polished special player….but there is a chance you cAn find serious athletic talent at 22, and we can let our coaches worry about turning them into football players…but when your coaches can really groom young talent, and your head coach still knows many of the college players really well, trading back and AQUIRING as many picks as possible has to be considered

          • Tom w

            I was thinking that too … Unless chip believes fsu and Texas am wr truly are elite talents w uber upside. Can probably but that beast from Minnesota wh is Calais junior in that category too. If all 3 gone, definitely trade back. Or if we could get a 2 this year and a first next year I am always down for that — especially if it’s a bad team trying to move back in first round and take a qb like Derek Carr who will drop.

          • GEAGLE

            I would strongly consider trading back, unless their is a special athlete on the board at 22:
            Shede Hagemen
            Barr
            Mike Evans
            Kelvin Benjamin
            ….
            But if we are choosing from talent that is similar to what we can find in round two, trade back as far as we can

        • anon

          I like Logan but given their years maybe we need some more low character guys :). Kidding, i think it’s important to build a team with the right character.

    • GEAGLE

      I’m not so sure that Barr won’t last til 22, and I don’t care what Kiper thinks…
      ..
      I expect attaboy to climb into round 1…would love to draft Van Noy and play him at OLB for a year or two, but as soon as Demeco leaves I would slide van Noy inside to pair with Kendrick…so while I’d draft van Noy in an instant, I don’t view him as our OLB pass rush solution, even if that’s how I would use him his first year or two

  • Dominik

    @ Sheil

    Interesting read, as always. Altough it is extra work, it would be great to compare the percentages to the best pass rushers in the game. For example Watt, Hardy, Mathis, players like that. 8.9 % for Curry is one thing and pretty good compared to Square ;), but it would be very interesting to see how the percentage is compared to two or three great rushers.

    • GEAGLE

      I really hope we don’t give up on Vinny. This year he was essentially a rookie, playing a new position for the first time, two gapping for the first time..his explosion off the snap is special and rare. I think he needs one more year of grooming before we can decide whether to trade him or keep him Longterm…
      ..
      Stylistically he is very different from our other Dline pieces, and I think giving up on him this soon is a mistake…

      We only have 3 OLBs..so let’s get that 4th before we worry about replacing Graham…FA OLB market is SOOO bad, that it’s not that easy to even find better then Graham this year and we can’t be drafting two OLBs…so for depth purposes, it may be wise to bring Graham back for a year, not eat dead money, and then let him walk next year when his deal expires, and the. Draft another OLB,,
      ,,,
      Also, by next offseason we could have an almost complete roster that won’t require a big free agency…so if we won’t be major players in next years FA, we could end up with a nice compensatory pick for letting our first round pick walk

      • Dominik

        Matthews has to go, that’s for sure. But I don’t think it will be too hard to find a back-up for Barwin. Look at Barwins salary. I really like him, but JACK OLBs aren’t really in demand. You should get that one cheap via FA.

        I don’t see a problem in letting Graham walk. We need a good pass rusher next year. Cole will be gone (or at least he needs to restructre) after next season and I like the new guy (draft?) to rotate with Cole.

        The problem for Graham is: he can’t be the back-up for Barwin, he’s a pure rusher who can’t cover. And he isn’t good enough to be the great pass rusher this Defense needs.

        • GEAGLE

          Have you looked at this free agent market? It’s SOOO bad, which means you probably have to overpay for anyone worth a damn. And I just don’t believe signing the Obrien Schofields of the world are worth eating Graham’s dead money…OLB is the most important position of a 3-4, and we certainly can’t draft two of them..considering dead money, what’s on the market! how much it will cost! there may not be a better option then bringing Brandon back for a year! let him walk! have him count heavily toWards our compensatory pick formula, and draft another OLB next year..

          Graham flat out isn’t the answer, but in fairness to him, down the stretch he made some plays that he was just not capable f early in the year..so while I would absolutely LOVE to get 3 new OLBs this year to compliment BRAMA bull Barwin, i don’t think it would be the end of the world to have Graham for one more year..he isn’t done improving as an OLB, however I don’t think his ceiling will be high enough as an OLB to have a future here…

          Because of the market,dead money, already needing to replace Casey Mathews, if I had a gun to my head right now, I would probably guess that Brandon is back for his last season in midnight green…but I damn sure ain’t opposed to an upgrade, I just think that upgrade is more likely to come next offseason via the draft…

          I also don’t get hung up over who backs up Barwin and who backs up Cole…we have 4 OLB, two play at a time..say we draft van Noy to backup Barwin this year, I would expect to see Barwin and Van Noy both on the field at times! even if one is technically the others back up

          • Dominik

            I don’t see your problem here, to be honest with you. Cole (for salary cap issues alone) and Barwin will be back. Cole played around 70 % of the snaps, Barwin over 95 %.

            Matthews sucks, I think we all agree about that, so let’s replace him. This doesn’t have to be a draft pick before the 5th or 6th round, I think you can find a player via FA. There aren’t any stud OLBs out there, but for the backing up Barwin, we don’t need one. Maybe even Long from the PS could do that (FO has to find that out).

            The complement to Cole has to be an impact player. OLB and Safety are our top two priorities, I think you can’t look at this any other way. I’m all for drafting bpa, but since there isn’t a stud OLB in FA, we’ll have to draft one.

            I think those two moves can be done in this offseason and I think the 4th or 5th round pick we can hopefully get for Graham (remember: he’s SC friendly, so 43 teams who need cheap help could be interested) helps us more than Graham.

  • GEAGLE

    Curry is a rookie who was inexperienced taking on Guards, spending most of I his career trying to beat OTs around the edge..forget his shortcoming, for him to lead this team in pressure percentage during what is essentially his rookie season, playing a new position, is worth finding out how much he can improve during his sophomore season of playing time