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New York Jets sign former 49ers DE Ronald Blair (Report)

Ronald Blair
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Jets boost their run defense with the addition of a former Robert Saleh pupil, defensive end Ronald Blair.

Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh and the New York Jets have added another piece to their ever-growing defensive front.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets have come to an agreement with former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ronald Blair.

Blair, 28, was a fifth-round pick of the 49ers out of Appalachian State in 2016 and had spent the entirety of his career with the team.

From 2016-19, Blair played in 47 games (2 starts) and picked up 59 tackles, 27 quarterback hits, 22 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks. Blair missed the entirety of the 2020 season while recovering from an ACL injury that he sustained in Week 10 of the 2019 season.

Blair is a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end who primarily lines up on the edge at the 5-technique spot. He is a slightly below-average pass rusher with a career pressure rate of 8.1% that falls below the 2020 EDGE average of 9.7%.

Run defense is Blair’s strength. It was a small sample, but in 2019, he racked up nine-run stops over just 85 snaps against the run, a 10.6% rate that led all edge defenders with at least 50 snaps against the run that season. He was solid in 2018 as well, ranking at the 64th percentile among qualified edge defenders with a 6.1% run stop rate (11 stops on 180 snaps).

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Carl Lawson is a lock to be the Jets’ top edge defender if healthy, but there will be a heated competition for playing time on the opposite side. Blair will battle it out against young pieces such as Bryce Huff, Kyle Phillips, and Jabari Zuniga, as well as the seasoned veteran, Vinny Curry.

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