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NFL Pass Rusher Efficiency, Thru Week 4

I had mentioned that I wanted to post my pass rusher ratings so here it is. The data is provided from Pro Football Focus, and I highly recommend subscribing to their services for more detailed play by play breakdown by position. These numbers are not PFF ratings, but even still I am only going to post the top 5 players at each position plus the ranking of the players from the AFC East.

The explanation of the metric is basically as follows: There has always been a debate about the value of a sack versus that of a pressure. Some believe only the sack is valuable while other believe the pressure is of the same value as a sack. Digging deeper into the performance of a QB under pressure we can determine the average ability to complete a pass under pressure, around 43%, and under ideal conditions, around 64%.  Using those numbers we can calculate the expected performance of a QB if he was never rushed versus his performance under those pressurized snaps.  

For instance lets assume a pass rusher rushes the QB 100 times. If the QB was never hurried he would likely complete about 64 passes on average and watch 36 passes that do not result in a completion. Now lets say the player has 3 sacks and 10 additional pressures. That means he has 87 non-pressure snaps, 10 pressure snaps, and 3 guaranteed non completions.  From those non pressure snaps we would assume 31.6 non-completes, 5.7 non-completes from the pressures, and 3 non completions from the sacks, which adds up to 40.3 failed plays. We would say that this player increased pass play failures by 11.9%, which is pretty good. Please note that all numbers are presented based on pass rush opportunities for the player.

With that out of the way lets break it down by position:

43 Defensive End

Rank

Name

Inc Failure

1

 Cameron Wake

16.0%

2

 Elvis Dumervil

13.3%

3

 Chris Long

13.2%

4

 Chris Clemons

12.7%

5

 Bruce Irvin

12.7%

18

 Chandler Jones

7.5%

23

 Mark Anderson

6.8%

25

 Mario Williams

6.1%

29

 Rob Ninkovich

5.2%

32

 Jared Odrick

4.8%

Clearly Cameron Wake has set himself apart from the rest of the position with his play this year. 1.2 times more productive than the average pass rusher at the position and distancing himself from the field through the first four games. Outside of Wake the AFC East has been a letdown in this category. Only Chandler Jones of the Patriots is above the 7.2% average, while the remainder of the field is far below. The Bills tandem is a high priced disaster, though under these metrics neither has been consistently great, which is why I always believed the Bills put their money in the wrong spot. Jared Odrick is a bit surprising, only because Jason Taylor benefitted so much from Wake last season, though it was a different defensive scheme.

34 Defensive End

Rank

Name

Inc Failure

1

 J.J. Watt

16.1%

2

 Darnell Dockett

6.1%

3

 Jason Hatcher

6.6%

4

 Haloti Ngata

6.9%

5

 Stephen Bowen

5.7%

11

 Muhammad Wilkerson

3.2%

The rankings here I think bring up an interesting debate over who is more effective- JJ Watt or Cameron Wake. The numbers are incredibly close right now with Watt having a narrow edge. One thing I will say is that when you pressure but don’t sack the QB you are also increasing the potential of an interception. Wakes pressures are potentially being turned into turnovers whereas Watts’ sacks are causing loss of yards. I think that would tip the scales slightly towards Wake. On the other hand the 34DE is not as productive in a pass rush as the 43DE and Watt represents a ridiculous 2.24 time increase over the average 34DE, which is a far bigger increase than Wake has over other 43 DE’s.  The only AFC East player here is Wilkerson of the Jets who simply does not get to the pass rusher. His 3.2% is 35% less productive than the average 34 DE.

34 Outside Linebacker

Rank

Name

Inc Failure

1

Clay Matthews

14.8%

2

DeMarcus Ware

14.3%

3

Ryan Kerrigan

11.1%

4

Shaun Phillips

10.7%

5

Justin Houston

9.9%

8

Calvin Pace

5.6%

Matthews and Ware are right up there with the best in the league and are very productive players. Calvin Pace of the Jets continues his trend of being a below average pass rusher from the OLB position.

Defensive Tackle

Rank

Name

Inc Failure

1

Geno Atkins

13.3%

2

Kyle  Williams

9.4%

3

Randy Starks

8.5%

4

Dwan Edwards

8.5%

5

Gerald McCoy

8.3%

6

Marcell Dareus

8.0%

9

Kyle Love

6.9%

25

Paul Soliai

2.2%

26

Vince Wilfork

2.1%

I found this category really interesting as it seems to indicate a resurgence I  the pass rushing interior lineman. The average is up to nearly 5% from 4% last season and Geno Atkins has raised his game to a new level breaking the double digit barrier. This has been the one spot where Buffalo has made out well with both Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus being well above average.  A name to look out for is Kyle Love, the promising youngster from New England.  His early season numbers are more than double his effectiveness last season. Will he sustain it? Neither Soliai nor Wilfork have ever been effective in this role so their numbers are no surprise.

43 Outside Linebacker

#

Name

Inc Failure

1

Von Miller

11.2%

2

Wesley Woodyard

4.5%

3

Sean Weatherspoon

3.5%

4

Chad Greenway

3.2%

5

Koa Misi

3.1%

14

Kevin Burnett

0.9%

21

Nick Barnett

0.4%

24

Jerod Mayo

0.4%

25

Bryan Scott

0.0%

Not normally a pass rushing position (the average is only 1.8%), but Von Miller is used that way and very talented.  Its really not even fair to put him in this category.

#

Name

Inc Failure

1

Daryl Washington

4.9%

2

Dannell Ellerbe

4.9%

3

Paris Lenon

4.2%

4

Chase Blackburn

3.7%

5

Jerrell Freeman

3.5%

12

Karlos Dansby

2.2%

14

David Harris

1.8%

23

Brandon Spikes

0.6%

Again not a big rushing position, but I was stunned by the fall of Harris, who traditionally is one of the best at this job.  The Jets are not giving him a lot of chances, which needs to change, but if they don’t or he simply is no longer effective as a rusher he loses pretty much all unique value he had.

That’s it for the stats this week. Maybe next week well look at the O-line rankings in pass protection or something with receivers.

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