The Jets are in need of a pass rusher coming off of the edge. I’m not going to go into too much detail other than to say that the Jets had 30 total sacks in 2012. That’s not a lot, and it is what is keeping the Jets defense from being great. There is a lot of talk about adding this through the draft, but what about free agency?
Baltimore has some key players that are free agents, we talked about one yesterday in Dannell Ellerbe. This morning, we take a look at an outside linebacker that just might fit the bill, Paul Kruger.
First off, let’s look at his statistics. He put up 9 sacks in 2012, which would have single handedly increased the Jets sack production by nearly 33%. Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson were the closest with 5.5 and 5.0 sacks respectively, but added together that still is only 1.5 sacks more than Kruger put up on his own. Kruger wasn’t just a flash in the pan either, with 5.5 sacks in 2011.
Now, let’s look at some of his advanced statistical grades compared to players at his position on the Jets, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
Kruger’s overall rating was a 7.9, which completely dwarfs anyone on the Jets. The closest was Bryan Thomas with a 0.3, but he played half of the snaps that Kruger did. Calvin Pace was the only one with a comparable amount of snaps, but his rating was a -17.4. Against the run, Kruger graded out with a -2.2, while Calvin Pace had a slightly better 0.7. Calvin Pace improved in pass coverage with a -4.4, but Kruger even had a positive number there with a 0.2. In pass rushing it is not even an argument, with Kruger posting an 11.0 to Calvin Pace with a -16.3.
Here is an interesting stat as well. We know how much difficulty Jets linebackers had against the pass, do we not? Well, quarterbacks had a passer rating of 84.6 when throwing Kruger’s way, while QBs had a passer rating of 107.5 throwing towards Calvin Pace.
As a pass rusher, Paul Kruger actually had the highest grade in Pass Rushing Productivity of any 3-4 outside linebacker with a 12.2, compared to Calvin Pace with a 7.5. His “stop percentage” against the run was 4.7, to Calvin Pace’s 3.1%.
At 26 years old, he is just entering the prime of his career and ready to step up. As we said when talking about Ellerbe, the Ravens have a lot of money that they need to commit to Joe Flacco, and likely Ed Reed as well. There is a decent chance that Paul Kruger will hit the open market. If that does happen, the Jets really need to think about taking a look at this guy. For the right price, he could be a good option in 2013.
He could be a huge difference maker, and not cost an arm and a leg making only $711,000 per year on his last contract.