Karlos Dansby provides coverage upgrade to Bengals’ linebacker corps

Analyst Thomas Maney reviews the deal that sends former Browns LB Karlos Dansby to an AFC North rival.

| 8 months ago
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Karlos Dansby provides coverage upgrade to Bengals’ linebacker corps


The deal: According to Ian Rapoport, the Bengals are set to sign former Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby after visiting with him last week.

What it means for Cincinnati: The 34-year-old Dansby provides a significant upgrade in coverage, where the Bengals had some issues at linebacker, particularly from 2015 snap-leader Vincent Rey (whom Cincinnati recently re-signed). Rey finished with the 83rd-ranked coverage grade out of 94 qualifying linebackers in 2015, while Dansby ranked sixth and has graded positively against the pass every season since PFF began grading games (2007). Opposing quarterbacks averaged a 65.3 passer rating on 47 throws into his coverage, the fourth-best mark at the position, while only two linebackers hauled in more interceptions than Dansby’s three.

His impact in run defense might be less noticeable, after seeing a sizeable dropoff there last season (75th-ranked run grade). Tackling was less of an issue (seven missed tackles, sixth-best tackling-efficiency rating among ILBs) than a decreased ability to shed blocks at the second level. Dansby maintained above-average grades there, however, for four straight seasons prior to 2015, so perhaps he’ll be closer to his average after a change in scenery.

What it means for Cleveland: Releasing Dansby cleared more than $3 million in cap space for the Browns, while the team added linebackers Demario Davis and Justin Tuggle in free agency. Davis is coming off of a slightly better year in run defense than Dansby had, but still graded negatively in every facet during his final season with the Jets.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    be curious to see if they let paul dawson man the MLB spot during burfict’s suspension to start the season, with rey at SLB and dansby at WLB. Dawson has future starter written all over him, just needs a chance

    • Adam M. Singhoff

      Probably doubtful considering the fact that Burfict doesn’t play MLB….

      • Wayne

        It’s gonna be dansby at Sam luga mlb and burfict at will. Maybe if Dawson shows he’s improved he could start first 3 games at will but when burfict comes back from suspension he’s done for the year unless and injury

      • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

        burfict doesn’t play a thing when he’s suspended…