Would Osi Umenyiora Be Better in Atlanta Than John Abraham?

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterMarch 26, 2013

It seems as if the Atlanta Falcons and free agent defensive end Osi Umenyiora have been talking forever. It’s only been six days since Umenyiora’s first visit with Atlanta on March 20, but both sides feel a deal is imminent.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that talks with Umenyiora’s people were still ongoing and moving forward well.

There’s nothing new to report at this point. We have a solid relationship with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and our discussions are fluid and amicable.

Umenyiora went on Atlanta sports talk radio station 92.9 the Game and spoke very highly of the Falcons.

The only thing I can think of, for myself personally, than being able to win in New York would be if I was able to win here at home in Atlanta.  So we’ll see how that plays out.  Hopefully, it will work out in a positive direction.

If the deal gets done, will Umenyiora be a better fit than former defensive end John Abraham?

Umenyiora is three-and-a-half years younger than Abraham, so he may in fact have a little more gas in the tank. But Abraham has 19.5 sacks over the last two years while Umenyiora has just 15.

Some of that discrepancy may just be the difference in playing time between the two. Abraham played 1,375 snaps over the last two seasons while Umenyiora was on the field for 1,068 with the New York Giants. Give Umenyiora those extra 307 snaps and their numbers would have looked very similar.

Abraham landed one sack for every 70.5 snaps he was on the field. Umenyiora got one for every 71.2 snaps he played.

Advanced analytic site Pro Football Focus had the two ends a little farther apart.

Last season Abraham’s pass-rush productivity (a PFF stat that combines sacks, quarterback hits and quarterback hurries and compares it to snaps where the player rushed the quarterback) figure was 10.7, good for sixth in the NFL. Umenyiora finished at No. 22 with an 8.6.

It was closer in 2011 when Abraham finished with the sixth-best pass-rush productivity number and Umenyiora finished at No. 8, but Abraham had more than 100 pass-rush snaps than Umenyiora.

When it comes to stopping the run, Umenyiora came out on top of Abraham. Umenyiora played on far fewer run snaps than Abraham and had numbers that were just as good.

It appears as if Umenyiora will be a slight downgrade to Abraham in the pass rush and an upgrade when playing the run. But two factors could push Umenyiora ahead.

Umenyiora is a lot younger than Abraham and will be asked to play more snaps than he did while with the Giants. Both factors could lead to Umenyiora putting up better numbers than Abraham could have in 2013.

And Umenyiora will likely come cheaper than Abraham.


Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.