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NY Jets free agent profile: Raiders T Jermaine Eluemunor

Jermaine Eluemunor
Jermaine Eluemunor

The New York Jets may have to go bargain shopping for linemen, leading them to Jermaine Eluemunor

The New York Jets badly need help at offensive tackle, but the 2024 free-agent market lacks big-ticket options. With the Jets not having a huge amount of cap space anyway, they may find themselves hunting for bargains at the position.

One of the most interesting players in that category is Jermaine Eluemunor, currently of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Jets free agent profiles:

Basic info

  • Age: 29.1
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 330 pounds
  • College: Lackawanna, Texas A&M
  • Experience: 7 years (Round 5, Pick 159, 2017 NFL Draft, Ravens)
  • Teams: Ravens (2017-18), Patriots (2019-20), Dolphins (2021), Jaguars (2021), Raiders (2021-present)
  • Previous contract: 1 years, $3M, $2.3M guaranteed (Signed with Raiders in 2023)

Measurables

  • Data from 2017 Combine (via Mockdraftable)
  • Percentiles among all-time offensive line prospects

Jermaine-Eluemunor-NY-Jets-Free-Agent

  • Height: 6-foot-4 (32nd percentile)
  • Weight: 332 pounds (91st)
  • Arm length: 33.25in (37th)
  • Hand size: 9.5in (17th)
  • 40-yard: 5.22s (59th)
  • Bench press: 34 reps (93rd)

Eluemunor also tested at his Texas A&M pro day (percentile rankings are unavailable):

  • 40-yard dash: 5.17s
  • 10-yard split: 1.84s
  • Vertical jump: 28.5in
  • Broad jump: 103in
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.9s
  • 3-cone drill: 7.74s

Eluemunor earned a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 6.98/10.

Role

Eluemunor has played in all 34 games for the Raiders over the past two seasons, making 31 starts. He was their opening-week starting right tackle in both seasons.

In 2023, Eluemunor played in all 17 games for the Raiders, starting 14 games. Two of his starts came at left tackle and 12 came at right tackle.

Eluemunor began the year as Las Vegas’ starting right tackle for the first five games. Over the next three games, Eluemunor split reps at right tackle with second-year tackle Thayer Munford. Eluemunor returned to the starting lineup afterward, making two starts at left tackle and seven more at right tackle.

In 2022, Eluemunor started all 17 games for Las Vegas, including an opening-week start at right tackle. Eluemunor made 15 of his starts at right tackle, but he also filled in at right guard and left tackle for one game apiece.

Before 2022, Eluemunor had only started 14 games over his first five seasons.

For his career, Eluemunor has played 1,861 snaps at right tackle, 534 snaps at right guard, 421 snaps at left tackle, and 11 snaps at left guard.

2023 performance

Good pass-blocking numbers

In terms of pressures allowed, Eluemunor appeared to perform well as a pass blocker in 2023. Pro Football Focus charged Eluemunor with allowing 28 total pressures on 552 pass-blocking snaps, a pressure rate of 5.1% that ranked 26th-best among 83 qualified tackles (min. 200 pass-blocking snaps). That puts him at the 70th percentile among qualifiers.

To Eluemunor’s credit, he pulled that off in a Raiders offense that asked slightly more of its offensive linemen than the average team. Eluemunor dropped into a true pass set (excludes plays with fewer than 4 rushers, play action, screens, short drop backs, and throws under 2 seconds) on 49.1% of his pass-blocking snaps, ranking 22nd out of 83 qualifiers.

Thanks to his above-average true pass set frequency, Eluemunor fares even better in adjusted protection metrics. His net pressure rate (which compares his pressure rate versus what he’d be expected to allow when accounting for his rate of true pass sets) was -1.6%, which ranked 20th. That’s six spots better than his standard pressure rate.

Here is a good rep against Kayvon Thibodeaux of the Giants, helping to set up a 50-yard deep shot. You can see Eluemunor (RT #72) use his sturdy 330-pound frame to gobble up Thibodeaux’s attempt at a bull rush. Thibodeaux tries to convert into a rip move and Eluemunor denies that as well.

Here’s another good rep on an island, this time against Colts edge rusher Dayo Odeyingbo, who had eight sacks this year. Eluemunor again displays the value of his size, showing a strong anchor as he eats up the bull rush.

On the negative side, it is slightly concerning that Eluemunor’s pressures tended to result in hits on the quarterback. Of his 28 pressures, six were sacks and another six were hits, meaning 12 of his 28 pressures (43%) put the quarterback on the ground. The league average for tackles is 29%. Still, the conversion of pressures to hits/sacks is largely influenced by the quarterback, so this could’ve been Jimmy Garoppolo and Aidan McConnell’s fault.

Despite his overall success at preventing pressure in 2023, Eluemunor’s most notable performance of the year was a nightmare game against the Chargers where he was responsible for allowing three of the six sacks accrued by the Chargers’ Khalil Mack. Eluemunor allowed seven total pressures in the game.

In a way, you could look at that as somewhat of a positive. For the year, Eluemunor allowed half of his sacks (3 of 6) and a quarter of his pressures (7 of 28) in that one game against Los Angeles. His pressure rate for the season drops to 4.1% outside of that game (would rank 12th-best out of 83).

Better at right tackle

Eluemunor allowed seven pressures on 78 pass-blocking snaps (9.0%) in his two starts at left tackle. At right tackle, Eluemunor only allowed 21 pressures on 474 pass-blocking snaps (4.4%). That would’ve ranked 14th-best out of 83 qualified tackles.

If you want to cherry-pick even further, Eluemunor only allowed 13 pressures on 430 pass-blocking snaps across his 13 games at right tackle outside of the Mack game. That’s a 3.3% pressure rate, which would’ve ranked third-best (slightly ahead of Tyron Smith).

Good run-blocking to boot

On top of his solid numbers in pass protection, Eluemunor generated solid production in the run game.

Eluemunor earned a 71.5 run-blocking grade from PFF, which ranked 23rd out of 83 qualifiers. SIS agrees that Eluemunor was a good run-blocker, giving him the ninth-lowest blown block rate among tackles (0.9%).

Kept penalties fairly low

Eluemunor was called for five penalties on 905 offensive snaps, giving him an average of 5.5 penalties per 1,000 snaps that ranked 27th-lowest out of 70 qualified tackles. The position average was 7.3.

Comparing 2023 performance to previous track record

At least based on the statistics that we have at our disposal, Eluemunor’s 2023 season was largely a continuation of the success he had in 2022. It marked his second consecutive year of good statistical production.

In 2022, Eluemunor’s pressure rate (4.5%) and run-blocking grade (75.7) were both even better than the marks he posted in 2023. The only area where he performed worse was the penalty department, as he was flagged 10 times (10.6 per 1,000 snaps).

Before 2022, Eluemunor’s career pressure rate was still fairly good at 4.7%, although he played a sizable chunk of his snaps at guard, where the positional average is lower. It’s in the run game where Eluemunor’s numbers took the biggest leap over the last two years. His career-high in run-blocking grade was only 63.4 before 2022.

Considering the impressiveness of Eluemunor’s numbers over the past two years, one glaring question emerges to the forefront: are these numbers legit?

If Eluemunor was so good in 2022, why did the free-agent market determine he was only worth a one-year, $3 million deal?

Eluemunor’s numbers are undoubtedly strong, but their legitimacy is in question. The way Eluemunor has been valued by his team and the league does not align with who the numbers say he is.

Scheme fit

The 330-pound Eluemunor has a background that almost exclusively lies with teams who are known for running power/gap schemes. He was drafted by the Ravens, spent two seasons with the Patriots, and then played under former Patriots coach Josh McDaniels with the Raiders.

The Raiders’ run scheme asked Eluemunor to lean a bit closer toward gap-blocking plays than the league average. Eluemunor had a 1.03-to-1 ratio of zone plays to gap plays in 2023, whereas the league average for tackles was 1.22-to-1. Basically, the Raiders were split nearly dead-even between both styles while most teams have an approximate 55%/45% split in favor of zone.

In 2022, Eluemunor was one of the heaviest gap-leaning tackles in the league with a 0.5-to-1 ratio of zone plays to gap plays.

However, McDaniels was the man behind Las Vegas’ power-running philosophies. After McDaniels was fired in Week 8 of this past season, the Raiders instantly transformed their run scheme under interim offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree.

With McDaniels as the head coach from Weeks 1-8, Eluemunor had the exact same zone-to-gap ratio that he had in 2022: 0.5-to-1. Following the ouster of McDaniels, Eluemunor’s zone-to-gap ratio was 1.47-to-1 over the rest of the season, which is even more zone-heavy than the league average.

The change seemed to benefit Eluemunor. Over the final nine weeks, PFF scored Eluemunor with a 72.4 run-blocking grade on zone plays and a 62.2 grade on gap plays. Before the coaching change, Eluemunor was doing better on gap plays (54.3 zone, 68.6 gap).

Durability

Eluemunor missed eight games in his rookie season, including the final six games of the year with a shoulder injury. After that, Eluemunor’s career game log includes a lot of DNPs due to him being inactive, although it appears he only missed four games due to injury from 2018-23. This includes one game due to illness in 2019 and three games due to ankle injury in 2020. He has not missed a game due to injury since Week 9 of 2020.

Flag Check

I recently wrote a pair of articles that analyzed what the Jets can learn from their hits and misses in free agency. The idea was to determine which green flags and red flags at the time of the signings turned out to be the best predictors of what would happen.

Let’s take a look at Eluemunor’s profile and see which aspects of it are reminiscent of the Jets’ hits (like D.J. Reed and Tyler Conklin) and which aspects are concerningly similar to the Jets’ whiffs (like Laken Tomlinson and C.J. Uzomah).

Green flags

Eluemunor does have a good track record of production, as Reed and Conklin did. He enters the 2024 offseason with back-to-back years of above-average pressure rates on his resume, which is a promising sign. He isn’t a one-year-wonder nor is he profiting off name recognition without the production to back up the hype.

Eluemunor also brings reliable durability to the table.

Red flags

Eluemunor scares me. While his numbers look great on paper, I wonder if they are telling a true story. There are many red flags that suggest his stats are fool’s gold.

Nobody was lining up to pay him last offseason despite the strong numbers he posted in 2022, and his production actually took a step back this year. Plus, he was essentially benched mid-season, being moved from an every-down starter to a split role with Munford.

There are strong signs of Eluemunor being a scheme beneficiary, a la Tomlinson with San Francisco.

The Raiders had one of the most well-coached offensive lines in the league over the past two years. Former Patriots offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo came to Vegas in 2022 with the task of fixing a broken unit and did a fantastic job. After inheriting the league’s 28th-ranked offensive line from 2021 (based on PFF’s end-of-year rankings), Bricillo led the unit to No. 10 in both 2022 and 2023.

Many unheralded players found new success after Bricillo’s arrival, with none being a better example than the infamous Jets alum Greg Van Roten. He was a cast-off veteran when he arrived in Las Vegas this year, signing for a measly one-year, $1.6 million contract after an unimpressive 2022 season in Buffalo. Out of nowhere, Van Roten emerged as one of the best guards of the 2023 season based on his numbers, especially in terms of pass-blocking.

Van Roten and Eluemunor weren’t the only surprise breakouts. 2023 also saw the rise of center Andre James, a former undrafted free agent who didn’t stand out in his previous two seasons as a starter. Suddenly, James was one of the top-ranked centers in the league in 2023.

When you see a bunch of players in the same system experiencing random breakouts simultaneously, that’s a huge red flag to me. It’s unlikely that all of these players just happened to improve their games at the same time. Most likely, the Raiders’ coaching and offensive scheme were effective enough to prop up the numbers of everyone within the system. Once these players leave the system, the things that made their numbers look better aren’t going to come with them.

Eluemunor is a career backup who is already 29 years old. Is he really a late bloomer who will carry above-average starting tackle production to a new team? Or is he the same backup he’s always been, just made to look better by the good situation with Las Vegas’ offensive line? The latter seems more likely.

The verdict

I think Eluemunor would be a nice target for the Jets as a high-end backup or as a fringe starter who is brought in to compete with a rookie or another free agent. However, I think it would be a mistake to pay him in accordance with his statistics and peg him as a surefire upgrade in their starting lineup. That would smell like another potential Laken Tomlinson situation.

Context is important when evaluating prospective free-agent targets. You can’t always just look at their production and assume it will translate seamlessly. That is the mistake New York made with free agent whiffs like Tomlinson and C.J. Uzomah.

In the case of Eluemunor, I see a player who might be peddled by some fans and media as a potential solution due to his numbers, but after you contextualize the whole picture, he isn’t nearly as safe of a target as it may seem.

Eluemunor remains firmly in the “high-end backup” tier for me.

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Peter Buell
Peter Buell
4 months ago

Last season the Jets re-structured alot of contracts to fit players wanted by Rodgers.
I can’t think of one I would do again.
If Joe D can off-load Lazzard without giving up capital it will be a huge win.
He needs to free up more cap room.
There was talk of cutting Mosely but his experience will make up if he’s lost another step…A cut results in as much dead cap as savings.
They absolutely need to bring in free agent lineman. A tackle who can start and “pro” linemen.
Jonah Williams would be perfect (spotrac has him getting $11/$44)
They need to pair Williams with thier pick.
I’d look to sign Ezra Cleveland to replace Tomlinson. Cleveland gave up 3 sacks and 13 pressures but only 3 hits on the pressures.
Fant, McGovern and at least one more solid backups are needed.
Joe needs to find a way to trade player(s) or future draft picks to get a 2nd 1st rounder.
A tackle and WR are not just wanted..they are needed.
Can’t have the team fall apart if 2 linemen go down so having guys who can play 2 or 3 games in a solid fashion are important

Jets71
Jets71
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buell

Jonah Williams is not good, if he was good Cincy would be keeping him. I don’t think there are any “big ticket’ FA’s that I trust, that being said, your point about getting a pro lineman is legit.

As Jets’ fans we are scarred because the last several years the OL has been decimated by injury. Teams keep between 9-10 OL, and of those maybe 6 are starting caliber, 7 if you are very lucky. No team has 10 starting caliber OL’s which is what we all want. Last year they would have needed 12 to keep up with the injuries. They used 7 RG’s alone.

The other thing is that just because we WANT them to sign a player, or even if the Jets WANT to sign a player, doesn’t mean that player wants to be a Jet.

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