The Cleveland Browns need help all over the place. They ranked 23rd in sacks and 30th in rushing defense for the 2011 season. Incumbent Right Defensive End Jayme Mitchell ranked 66th out of 67 right defensive ends for PFF with a -15.3 rating. While a Mario Williams would have been a Cleveland fan’s dream free agent, that is not GM Tom Heckert or President Mike Holmgren’s current plan of action – which primarily revolves around building through the draft and acquiring under the radar free agents.
Wednesday, the Cleveland Browns came to an agreement with former Cincinnati Bengal RDE Frostee Rucker – a 5 year deal worth 21 million (8 million guaranteed). While this may not be the type of signing to break the internet or inspire one into purchasing Cleveland Browns season tickets, based on limited exposure it could be a thrifty move for a player that has performed well in part-time duty.
Rucker’s primary role will likely be as run defender – which he did well as. In fact, Rucker may have done better than well if he were only given more snaps. For 4-3 defensive ends, he finished the season with 31 stops (i.e. tackles for loss + sacks + solo tackles not downfield), good enough for 15th. But, let’s look closer at the top 15 stoppers (yes, I made that up) on a per snap basis.
|Name||Stops||Snaps||Snaps per stop|
Not too shabby from Rucker. That 14.9 snaps per stop clearly ranked first out of the top 15 stoppers. And with a quick eyeball test comparing snaps per stop of all 4-3 defensive ends, it looks to be the best. Obviously, he’s only playing part-time (so likely not facing many double teams) but Tom Heckert may have found himself a bargain in the Frostee Rucker. His 7 career sacks and 11 QB disruptions on 213 pass rushes in 2011 likely won’t benefit the teams need to get to the QB, but as a pure run-stopper the 28 year old out of USC may be getting overlooked by many.
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