Kroy Biermann has been regarded with everything from indifference to love by Atlanta Falcons fans, and what emotion you get depends on when you ask.
While he's more or less universally liked, not everyone is convinced Biermann is a starting-caliber defensive end. Whether that's based on his on-the-field production or the fact that he was a fifth round pick in 2008, Duff Man isn't thought of as an elite option. About half those discussing drafting a defensive end later this month are focusing on having the new guy take over for Biermann.
I have no qualms with taking an end. In fact, I prefer it. Yet I'm beginning to think that whoever the Falcons pick should be a rotational guy, someone who will eventually take over for John Abraham. Because I want Biermann on the field as much as possible in 2011 and beyond.
After the jump, a quick look at why I make such a bold statement.
It begins and ends with this enlightening article from Pro Football Focus. They note that he's improved every year in the league, even with his woeful two sack total in 2010:
Such a small number and such a misleading one. It almost suggests he was invisible and doing nothing for most of the game, when nothing can be further from the truth. You see, there was more to Biermann’s season than that memorable batted pass turned interception return against the Browns. Here was a guy who totaled 48 regular season quarterback disruptions, good enough for 28th in the entire league and just nine fewer than John Abraham. What’s more, the 11.71% of pass rushing plays he got pressure on was the best number of his young career and 33rd in the league. Those numbers may not blow you away, but that’s just behind Terrell Suggs (32nd) and ahead of Julius Peppers (42nd).
This isn't sorcery. It's not black magic. It's not the mixed-up numbers of a bunch of pencil-pushing nerds who couldn't find their way into a football stadium with a map and a door-breaching shotgun. It's reputable statistics from guys who spend a lot of time studying this stuff, and their research tells us that Biermann was among the better defensive ends in the NFL.
In fact, as long as he doesn't go into a nosedive in 2011, there's reason to believe that deceptively low sack total is going to hike itself up considerably. It's not unreasonable to suggest that he could flirt with double digit sacks if he maintains the same pressure and manages to close out a few more, and that would be enough to give us a collective man crush on him.
My point? While a first round defensive end makes an enormous amount of sense for the Falcons, it's more as a replacement for Abraham when his contract runs out after the upcoming season. Biermann will be just fine.