We’re at that point in the season where there’s plenty of roster churn at the bottom as teams seek to secure the rights of players with a view towards bringing them into camp in 2019. Teams will poach players from practice squads or activate their own players from the practice squad to protect them from being poached. Of course, this means that some veterans can shake loose.
Over the past few weeks, the Jets have added five players to their active roster and we already took an in-depth look at Bronson Kaufusi last week. Today we’re going to move on and take a look at linebacker Emmanuel Lamur with a view towards reviewing the rest - along with anyone else the Jets add between now and the end of the season or on a futures deal once the season is over.
Lamur is a 29-year old off-ball linebacker who was undrafted out of Kansas State in 2012. He’s spent time with the Bengals, Vikings and Raiders. While he’s mostly been a back-up, he started 13 games for Cincinnati in 2014 and racked up 91 tackles and two interceptions. He was claimed off waivers from Oakland, with whom he started four games this year.
Lamur was a safety at Kansas State, where he was a three-year starter. He registered 197 tackles, two sacks, five interceptions, 16 passes defensed and four forced fumbles over the course of his college career.
In the 2012 draft, Lamur went undrafted, which was not unexpected after he had been a combine snub. However, the Bengals signed him and he turned some heads at training camp as a rookie.
He didn’t initially make the roster in his rookie season, but the Bengals placed Lamur on the practice squad and ended up activating him in November. He played in a reserve role and ended up with 19 tackles and a pass defensed in nine games.
In 2013, Lamur was expected to play a key role in Cincinnati’s nickel packages, but ending up spending the season on injured reserve following a training camp injury. However, he got a chance to play a more significant role in 2014, starting 13 games and finishing third on the team in tackles.
Since that time, Lamur has mostly been a back-up. He played one more year in Cincinnati before signing a two-year deal to play for the Vikings. He joined the Raiders this year but was recently released.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Lamur brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Lamur bulked up to a listed 245 to become an NFL linebacker and has good length, which benefits his range. He’s regarded as a very good athlete and moves with good fluidity.
Lamur ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at his pro day. The rest of his pro day numbers were about average across the board.
For most of his career, Lamur has played as a 4-3 outside linebacker or in sub-packages, both on the weakside and the strongside. He’s always been an off-ball linebacker rather than an edge defender though. With his previous experience as a defensive back, Lamur will often match up with receivers in the slot.
Lamur is good at going from sideline to sideline, but he’s not really physical enough to be effective if you give him a big workload in the box. Ideally, you want to try and keep him clean.
He’s not very good at getting off blocks but can be effective when coming downhill.
Lamur has been productive as a tackler in the past, but is not really regarded as a big hitter. He closes well on the ball in space, but sometimes his technique is lacking, which can lead to missed tackles or runners being able to drive him back for extra yardage at the end of the play.
However, his overall tackle efficiency has been acceptable over the course of his career.
Lamur had four forced fumbles in his college career and has one at the pro level.
Lamur has been impressive at times with his coverage abilities. His secondary experience serves him well here, as he moves well and has good ball skills.
The Bengals would often exploit this versatility by running coverages where Lamur would drop deep and allow a safety to rush or come up into the box.
Over the course of his career, Lamur has been beaten for five touchdown passes and given up a completion percentage of over 75 percent when targeted, but hasn’t given up a play longer than 30 yards. He had a couple of penalties in coverage in 2014 - for holding and illegal contact.
Lamur’s instincts in play recognition are regarded as mediocre but he is usually quick to the ball. There can be lapses at times though, as was the case on this play.
Lamur didn’t seem to make many mental errors, although there was a bad blown coverage in a 2015 game against Seattle where he and Dre Kirkpatrick both covered the same receiver, allowing Jermaine Kearse to score easily over the top. He was also responsible for one 12-men on the field penalty.
At times with the Bengals, Lamur took over playcalling duties from Vontaze Burfict in the defensive huddle. His experience at multiple positions will obviously help him in this area.
Lamur doesn’t rush the passer very often and only has half a sack in his NFL career, although he did have another sack in preseason action in 2014. He added two in college.
Over the course of his career, he’s averaged approximately one pressure per 10 pass rush attempts. He’s only actually blitzed seven times since 2015, with zero pressures recorded.
As noted above, despite having bulked up, Lamur isn’t really physical enough for an every-down role in the box. He plays hard enough, just seems to lack the functional strength and aggression to succeed in anything other than a cover linebacker role.
Lamur has been a decent special teams contributor in the past, including in 2015 where he posted eight special teams tackles.
He has also recovered a fumble on a muffed punt but had penalties for an illegal block on a return and offsides on a kick.
In college, he won a game with a field goal block as time expired against Iowa State.
Injuries have been a major issue over Lamur’s career, as he spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve due to a preseason shoulder injury and was also placed on injured reserve at the end of the 2015 season due to a knee injury. He’s also been sidelined multiple times due to hamstring injuries, including once in 2017 and missed further time with foot, shoulder and concussion issues over the course of his career.
As a draft prospect, Lamur was regarded as a good leader with a solid attitude, work ethic and character and he doesn’t have any red flags since entering the league, other than a training camp scuffle where he took a swing at AJ Green.
He doesn’t seem to be a wildly demonstrative player on the field, but plays with good energy.
While he hasn’t played much in 3-4 defenses, Lamur’s skill-set will translate fine to the Jets’ current system. He’d play the Darron Lee role or see sub-package work as a coverage backer.
At this late stage of the season, there’s a hunger for teams like the Jets to raid other teams for players with high upside, but they already have plenty of project players and some uncertainty over the coaching staff.
Lamur might only be here for the next two games, but this will be a useful opportunity to audition some players for back-up roles at inside linebacker next year.
With Neville Hewitt out of contract at the end of the year and Kevin Pierre-Louis having missed a ton of time, the Jets are smart to look at some alternatives and, despite his limited long-term upside, Lamur is a perfectly acceptable candidate to compete for such a role next year.
Whether they sign him to a futures deal after the end of the season will obviously depend upon how he fares over the next few weeks.