Ranking the Falcons 2014: No. 22 Kroy BiermannI’m counting down the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, and let’s continue with 22nd-ranked player: outside linebacker Kroy Biermann.
To read the methodology I devised to rank the Falcons players, click here.
Total Score: 53/100
Last year’s rank: 19
Player Grade: 54/100
Teams he is starter: 15 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 0 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 26 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +1
Positional Bonus: +4
Despite hardly playing last season, Biermann’s ranking goes largely unchanged. Mainly because while Biermann is by no means a star, he’s a very effective role player that could carve out a starting spot for roughly half the teams in the league, mostly at strong-side linebacker.
Biermann has developed over his tenure in Atlanta, being one of the few, true success stories among their late-round picks selected under general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Biermann has grown for a situational rusher to a full-fledged starter at strong-side linebacker. While Biermann has no outstanding skill set in his repertoire, under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, he has blossomed in a versatility starter for the team.
If there is any strength to Biermann’s game, it’s likely his run defense which is surprisingly good considering he’s only 260 pounds. Biermann understands how to get leverage, using his smaller frame to get lower than opposing blockers and get stops there.
2014 potentially marks the final season of Biermann in Atlanta. Coming off a torn Achilles tendon, unless he can bounce back to his 2012 level as an asset in Nolan’s defense, he could be hard-pressed to earn a substantial contract from Atlanta in 2015, especially if a young linebacker like Tyler Starr shows growth in his rookie season.
But it could be hard to get rid of Biermann next year, even at age 30. Even if it’s not as a starting outside linebacker for the Falcons, again Biermann adds value as a rotational run-defender and situational pass-rusher. His versatility means that he can play both linebacker and defensive end for the team.
And while he’s never looked like an impact pass-rusher outside maybe the first few weeks of the 2009 season, he does show relatively consistent ability as a complementary rusher. Ideally, Biermann would be the third or fourth guy in a team’s rotation. However in Atlanta, for much of his career he has been counted upon to be the second option.
If other young pass-rushers show enough growth this season, it may lead to the ironic conclusion that when Biermann is finally poised to settle into the role he should have always been in, he will no longer be on the team.