As we look ahead to the free agency period, we look into the positions that the Jets need to upgrade. One that is at, or near, the top of the list, is linebacker. The current group is old, and they need to get better. We have talked about the need for an outside linebacker, the desperate one at that. But, the need is there for an inside linebacker as well, as Bart Scott has one foot out the door too.
What about Dannell Ellerbe? Well, he is very likely to be available on the open market. The Ravens have a lot of money that they need to spend. Joe Flacco is going to ask for, deserve, and likely get, a boat load of cash. Coming off the run he just finished, this will come as no surprise to anyone. Add that to the fact that Ed Reed is a free agent, and Ellerbe could likely be a casualty. So, what did Ellerbe bring to the table last year?
Dannell Ellerbe had his best year for the Super Bowl Champs, with 92 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Our counterpart, Bart Scott, for comparison, finished with 60 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an INT. Clearly, Ellerbe is a statistical upgrade.
Ellerbe’s overall PFF grade was 4.8, significantly besting Bart Scott’s 1.1. His pass rush grade was also far better than Scott’s, 4.5 to 1.5. Dannell was tough against the run as well with a grade of 6.2, compared to Bart Scott’s 0.6.
His biggest problem was in pass coverage. Ellerbe finished the year with a -5.0 grade in pass coverage, while Bart Scott actually finished higher with a -0.1. With the linebackers having difficulty in pass coverage, we would have to think about someone that graded out as a liability in that area.
Remember, the Jets do have young Demario Davis, who although he played only 301 snaps, graded out almost as well as Bart did against the pass with a -0.6. There is something to be said for running with your young players, and letting them grow into their role. A decent argument, could, and should be made for allowing Demario to grow into the starting role in 2013. Let’s look at some more stats on the next page.