Barnwell: Jason Babin Overrated; Jacob Ford Underrated

Bill Barnwell, formerly of Football Outsiders, has a free agency post today over at Grantland. He talks about several of the Tennessee Titans free agents in his post. He lists Jason Babin on his five overrated, Jacob Ford on his five underrated and Leroy Harris on his five buy low.

Comments on each after the jump.

On Jason Babin:
Babin put up 12.5 sacks with the Titans last year after accruing just 17.5 sacks through his first five pro seasons. At 31, chances are that he just had a fluke season, and he wants prospective bidders to give him a multiyear contract. Only the truly desperate can justify making such a move. His closest historical comparables are players like Mike Hartenstine and Rod Martin. Both Hartenstine and Martin dropped off to seven sacks in the season after their career year, and they didn't reach beyond five sacks in a season after that.

There is no doubt that whatever team ends up signing Babin is taking on a pretty big risk. I am really interested to see what the market is like for him.

On Jacob Ford:

Ford ranked second in each of the Top 25 Prospects lists I put together for Football Outsiders, ranking just below Miles Austin in 2009 and Mike Wallace in 2010. Ford tore his Achilles in training camp as a rookie, but he came back to record 12.5 sacks as a reserve in 2008 and 2009. He had a shot at the starting gig last season before getting hurt again in the preseason. By the time he came back, Jason Babin had his job. Ford's going to be an undersized pass-rusher somewhere in 2011, and if he gets enough playing time, he's capable of double-digit sacks; his career path isn't all that dissimilar from Charles Johnson, who hit 11.5 in his first full season last year. He's even money to pick up more sacks than Babin this year.

I have always been a big fan of Ford's, and I agree that there is a good chance he ends up with more sacks that Babin in 2011. As Barnwell said, he is undersized, so this Titans administration might no value him as much as the last one did.

On Leroy Harris:

Harris played well enough as a utility lineman in 2009 for the Titans to let future Hall of Fame center Kevin Mawae fade into retirement. The move opened a spot up for Harris at left guard, but he struggled with an ankle injury and failed to create lanes for Chris Johnson. According to the Adjusted Line Yards metric, only the Lions got less out of their offensive line in the running game than the Titans, and Harris was the only new starter on a line that had been dominant with Mawae in the lineup. Now that he's got a year of experience underneath him, 2011 should be a better season.

Harris hurt his value last year so it should be easier for the Titans to bring him back at a reasonable price.

I am sticking with my prediction that Harris is back and Babin and Ford are both gone.

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