Zachary Orr, the linebacker who led the Baltimore Ravens in tackles last season, took an obscure path to unrestricted free agency... should the Buffalo Bills consider signing him?
In January, Orr announced his retirement after an MRI following a neck injury discovered a vertebrae condition that would put him at extreme risk of paralysis or even death if he continued to play football.
On Good Morning Football Wednesday morning, Orr made it known he was healthy and ready to play. Because he was entering restricted free agency but set to retire, the Ravens didn’t offer him a tender, meaning now, the 25-year-old linebacker can sign with any team.
Orr was super-productive for Baltimore in 2016 — he had 130 tackles, five pass breakups, and three interceptions in 15 games.
If PFF grade’s are your thing, Orr’s figures will intrigue you.
His overall grade of 42.7 placed him No. 81 out of 89 qualifying inside linebackers. However, that score was severely impacted by his paltry 41.0 score as a run defender — only five (qualifying) off-ball linebackers had a worse score in that department.
His 73.5 coverage grade was 43rd-best among linebackers... right below Bills linebacker Gerald Hodges’ coverage grade of 73.8.
Orr played nearly 400 more snaps than Hodges in 2016, but Buffalo’s free-agent addition outpaced the former Raven in every PFF category — run defense, coverage, and pass rush.
In fact, Hodges run-defense grade was 80.8, nearly double Orr’s grade.
Even if you aren’t the biggest believer in PFF’s grading system, you can be almost certain that the linebacker with the 80.8 run-stopping score was significantly more effective in that facet of the game than the linebacker with the 41.0 run-stopping score.
Orr is a skilled coverage linebacker, which makes him undoubtedly valuable in today’s NFL. But given what the Bills already have at the position -— Reggie Ragland, Gerald Hodges, Preston Brown, a 10-year veteran, and two drafted rookies — they don’t need to sign him.