Is Eddie Yarbrough Up to the Task?

Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive end Eddie Yarbrough (54) and outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Is Eddie Yarbrough a future starter?

With second year defensive end Shaq Lawson done for the season with an ankle injury, another young player will have a shot to prove himself. Eddie Yarbrough won over the coaching staff during preseason with strong showings, especially rushing the passer, and now he will get the bulk of the snaps at Shaq’s left defensive end position.

 

Despite leading the team in sacks this season with 4, Lawson wasn’t the dominant force rushing the passer (-7.1 Raw PFF pass rush grade) the team expected when selecting him in the first round of last year’s draft. In fact, his best contributions this season were setting the edge and defending the run (4.2 PFF run defense grade). That’s the impact I think the Bills will miss as the season moves forward. Lawson finished his season with 32 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 4 sacks, playing 58.7% of defensive snaps.

 

Yarbrough played 36.75% of the defensive snaps this season so far, but already has 27 tackles and one sack. He’s not as powerful as Shaq against the run (+2.6 PFF run defense grade), but he’s still good and, despite playing fewer snaps, already has 16 stops credited to his name, against Shaq’s 18.

 

The pass rushing department is where I think Yarbrough has shown more promise. With fewer opportunities he has eight QB hits against Shaq’s two and 14 total pressures against Shaq’s 18. Yarbrough shows a good repertoire of pass rushing moves, often winning with technique and smarts, changing the pace of his rushes and always making opposing offensive tackles think about what’s coming next.

 

It will be very interesting to see how he takes advantage of more opportunities alongside Kyle Williams, Adolphus Washington, and Jerry Hughes.



 

With HC Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane not showing much patience with previous regime guys and his somewhat unimpressive production, Shaq Lawson’s place in the starting lineup for the 2018 season isn’t set in stone. Eddie Yarbrough will have a nice audition to prove he can be a viable option at the left defensive end spot for this team, and it will not surprise me if, with more snaps, he becomes a realistic option as a starter for the Bills next season.

 

In your opinion, is he a future starter? Leave a reply in the roundtable chat box.

 

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