Continuing the countdown of the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, let’s break down the 26th best player in linebacker/defensive end Kroy Biermann.
To read about the methodology in how these rankings came about, you can click here.
Total Score: 48.5/100
Last year’s rank: 22nd
Player Grade: 52/100
Teams he is starter: 6 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 30 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +0
Positional Bonus: +4
The Mike Smith regime certainly had a soft spot for Biermann. He first impressed the team as a situational pass-rusher in 2009, posting a career-high five sacks. Expectations were that Biermann would only improve as a pass-rusher from that point on, but he never eclipsed those sack totals.
Although to be fair, Biermann did get better in other capacities as a player. His run defense became solid despite the fact that he was an undersized 260-pound defensive end. Plus with the arrival of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in 2012, Biermann was able to become competent in coverage and grew into a Swiss-Army-knife-sort of player that was a key contributor that year.
However, that all became sidetracked in 2013 when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Biermann wasn’t quite the same player in 2014 upon his return, yet the Smith regime still displayed a high level of confidence in his abilities. Biermann seemed to earn that confidence with improved play in the second half of 2014, but by then had already drawn the ire of many within the fan base as the epitome of all things that were wrong with the Smith-and-Nolan-helmed defense.
Yet in 2015 there’s every reason to believe that Biermann will be more like the player he was in the second half of 2014. He’ll have another full year to recover from the Achilles tear, which is often considered to be an injury that takes more than a year to rebound from. He’ll also be returning to defensive end, where he’s played his best football, rather than playing purely as the linebacker he was the past three years.
While Biermann doesn’t do any one thing spectacularly, he’s a competent all-around defender that can be useful in a variety of ways. He’ll like play both outside linebacker and defensive end in Quinn’s scheme, where his solid run-stopping abilities could help keep other edge-rushers like Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn and O’Brien Schofield fresher for passing downs.
Biermann will likely be asked to be part of a rotation rather than the every-down player he was last year. As a player that plays 30 snaps as opposed to 50 per game, there’s every reason to believe that Biermann should revert to his pre-2013 ways of being considered more of an asset than a liability.