After four offensive profiles, it’s time to look on the defensive side of the ball at defensive end Kroy Biermann.
Pros: Has nice quickness off the snap to challenge the corner as pass rusher. Has nice technique, using his hands to beat the tackle. Capable of closing on the ball and delivering a hit to create a turnover. Will get his hands up to bat down passes as well. Shows improved recognition, and has improved his ability to play the run and not get caught out of position at the point of attack. Able to make stops on the edge, and can get off blocks.
Cons: Doesn’t wow you with his edge speed and doesn’t have quite the burst to beat most upper-level tackles around the corner consistently. Is not that big and on occasion can get pushed around versus the run by bigger tackles. Struggles when asked to drop into coverage and play in space as he shows very little awareness and poor hips there.
2011 Outlook: Biermann is hoping to bounce back after a somewhat disappointing 2010 season due to the introduction of Ray Edwards into the lineup. It should allow him to do what he does best, which is get after the quarterback as a situational rusher off the bench.
Biermann did not show the progress as a pass rusher that many hoped last season after a strong preseason and a breakout 2009 campaign. While Biermann emerged early during the ’09 season in that role, he wore down as the season progressed and over the second half of that season was not that effective a pass rusher.
One area that did improve last year for Biermann was his contributions in run support. So much so that he’s now comfortable being an everydown defender, but would work best if his snaps were limited.
Biermann works best as a left end because his speed is a better matchup against right tackles than it against quicker left tackles. But he will likely work both sides of the line. The hope for him this year is that returning to a situational role like he had in 2009, it will allow him to be fresher by limiting the wear he takes from defending the run. If he can play like he did at the start of ’09 and extend it through all 16 games, he can be a very potent situational rusher.
In Summary… Biermann isn’t ever going to be an elite pass rusher in this league, but he is effective even if it’s not reflected in his sacks. He’s capable of being a starter at this level on a number of NFL teams, but is probably best used as a No. 3 rusher. What sort of production Biermann has could make or break his NFL career as he is entering a contract year. And with a strong season where he can pad his sack totals, his next contract could be what defines his career.