2012 Combine - Using the Production Ratio to Find Defensive Linemen for the Broncos

We looked at the Production Ratio for the Linebackers who were invited to the NFL Combine on Monday and today we will take a look at the Defensive Linemen to narrow down the search for players that would fit with the Denver Broncos in our eternal quest to play Armchair GMs'. I split them into two categories just like I did with the Linebackers -- the Defensive Tackles (Nose Tackles too) and the Ends. To add some perspective, I charted some of the leading players from last years draft class along with their selection slot and their Production Ratio from their time in college. Because this is a stand alone post, I will restate that this premise has been taken from Pat Kirwan's book, "Take Your Eye Off the Ball."

The Production Ratio is used to measure the playmaking potential for the Front 7 players on Defense coming out of college. The formula goes like this:

(SACKS + TACKLES FOR LOSS)/NUMBER OF GAMES PLAYED = PRODUCTION RATIO

We are looking for someone who scores a 1.0 or better. That number shows that a player is making an average of one significant impact play per game, as in a Sack or a stop behind the line of scrimmage.

Here's a look at the 2011 standout Defensive Tackle rookies and their college Production Ratio. The categories from left to right are the Round and overall selection in the draft. Name, team and position are self explanatory. The next three columns are Total tackles and Sacks in 2011 as a Pro and the player's Production Ratio number from college makes up the last column.

Rnd(Pk) Name Team Pos TKL Sck P.Ratio
1(21) Phillip Taylor CLE DT 59 4.0 0.58
3(77) Jurrell Casey TEN DT 52 2.5 0.79
5(142) Karl Klug TEN DT 20 7.0 1.04
3(65) Terrell McClain CAR DT 19 1.0 0.50
3(87) Drake Nevis IND DT 19 0.0 0.92
6(184) David Carter ARI DT 16 1.0 0.24
1(13) Nick Fairley DET DT 15 1.0 1.50
2(53) Stephen Paea CHI DT 14 2.0 1.20
4(106) Christian Ballard MIN DT 13 0.0 0.68

The Titans really struck it rich getting Jurrell Casey in the 3rd and Karl Klug in the 5th round, didn't they.

The next chart is a listing of all the Defensive Tackles (27) and Nose Tackles (4) invited to the Combine this week in Indianapolis. Once again, those players with an asterisk are Juniors that declared early for the draft. Also note that Renard Williams, Matt Conrath and Marcus Forston were not invited to the Combine.

OVR Name School Hgt. Wgt. 40 Tm Sks TFL Gm P. Ratio TTKLs
52 Jared Crick Nebraska 6'6" 285 4.80 20.0 35.0 42 1.31 167
199 Derek Wolfe Cincinnati 6'5" 310 5.19 19.5 37.0 45 1.25 162
351 Chas Alecxih Pittsburgh 6'4" 285 5.02 18 29.5 41 1.16 127
134 Brett Roy Nevada 6'3" 280 4.88 18.0 39.0 50 1.14 149
7 Devon Still Penn St. 6'5" 305 5.06 10.5 32.5 40 1.07 113
129 Malik Jackson Tennessee 6'5" 270 4.82 13.0 27.5 39 1.04 126
66 Billy Winn Boise St. 6'4" 295 4.90 15.5 36.5 52 1.00 132
23 *Jerel Worthy Michigan St. 6'3" 310 5.04 12.0 27.5 40 0.99 107
511 Renard Williams E. Washington 6'2" 300 5.00 24.5 40.0 68 0.95 139
215 Mike Daniels Iowa 6'1" 280 4.84 15.5 27.0 45 0.94 123
440 J.R. Sweezy No. Carolina St. 6'5" 293 4.95 11.0 21.0 35 0.91 84
50 Kendall Reyes Connecticut 6'4" 296 4.99 11.5 32.5 49 0.90 142
325 Matt Conrath Virginia 6'7" 281 4.84 11.5 30.5 47 0.89 164
25 *Fletcher Cox Mississippi St. 6'4" 295 4.95 7.5 22.5 35 0.86 107
79 *Marcus Forston Miami 6'3" 300 4.95 7.0 17.5 31 0.79 60
28 *Dontari Poe Memphis 6'5" 350 5.00 5.0 21.5 35 0.76 101
96 Mike Martin (NT) Michigan 6'2" 304 4.98 10.0 25.0 49 0.71 172
457 John Hughes Cincinnati 6'4" 285 5.02 9.0 25.0 50 0.68 141
471 Rennie Moore Clemson 6'3" 266 4.83 8.5 21.0 46 0.64 98
234 Jaye Howard Florida 6'3" 303 5.05 7.0 19.0 43 0.6 111
116 Kheeston Randall (NT) Texas 6'5" 295 5.10 5.0 21.5 46 0.58 82
397 Markus Kuhn No. Carolina St. 6'3" 300 4.90 7.5 18.5 48 0.54 118
267 Travian Robertson So. Carolina 6'4" 305 5.08 6.5 21.0 56 0.49 123
13 *Michael Brockers LSU 6'6" 306 4.95 2.0 11.0 27 0.48 79
104 Alameda Ta'Amu Washington 6'3" 337 5.20 7.5 16.5 50 0.48 109
32 Brandon Thompson Clemson 6'2" 310 4.95 4.5 21.0 53 0.48 161
81 DaJohn Harris USC 6'4" 310 5.18 5.0 14.5 43 0.45 77
360 Dom Hamilton Missouri 6'5" 305 5.25 5.5 15.0 46 0.44 140
331 Tydreke Powell No. Carolina 6'3" 310 5.30 6.5 16.0 53 0.42 136
292 Vaughn Meatoga Hawaii 6'2" 295 5.00 6.5 11.5 52 0.35 81
178 Josh Chapman (NT) Alabama 6'1" 310 5.02 2.5 13.5 52 0.31 88
135 Loni Fangupo Brigham Young 6'1" 331 5.08 0.0 6.5 23 0.28 32
378 Christian Tupou (NT) USC 6'2" 300 5.1 0.5 7.0 42 0.18 53

It looks like the Broncos could have a chance at a few of these players. The Broncos first three picks are the 25th, 57th and ~88-89th, so as it currently stands, there are 7 or 8 players that could be obtained with one of those first three selections. Keep your eye on their 40 Time to see how much improvement they make. It won't make an extreme amount of difference, but coaches like their Linemen to be sub-5 seconds. However, the explosion number will tell them more about that first step, so it would take precedence in evaluation of the Big men.

You can pretty much assume that the players at the bottom are anchors and run stoppers (they had to be invited for a reason), but Nose Tackle Mike Martin is intriguing. His P. Ratio number is pretty good for a Nose Tackle and the 40 Time of under 5 seconds is a plus for a Lineman. I want to see where his Explosion Number comes in at.

Now for the Defensive Ends. Once more, we begin with last years draft picks that did well in their rookie year.

Rnd(Pk) Name Team Pos TKL Sck P.Ratio
1(14) Robert Quinn STL DE 23 5.0 1.54
1(11) J.J. Watt HOU DE 56 5.5 1.20
2(37) Jabaal Sheard CLE DE 55 8.5 1.19
5(165) Pernell McPhee BAL DE 23 6.0 1.14
1(20) Adrian Clayborn TB DE 42 7.5 1.11
1(3) Marcell Dareus BUF DE 43 5.5 0.93

The Ravens got a deal with Pernell McPhee and the rest of this group had steady contributions as Rookies.

Here are the invites at Defensive End. I have omitted double posting those players from the OLB post that will actually be running with this group. Julian Miller, Ryan Van Bergen and Taylor Thompson were not invited to the Combine.

OVR Name School Hgt. Wgt. 40 Tm Sks TFL Gm P. Ratio TTKLs
58 Vinny Curry Marshall 6'3" 263 4.74 26.5 49.0 45 1.68 239
232 Tyrone Crawford Boise State 6'4" 276 4.74 13.5 27 25 1.62 76
254 Scott Solomon Rice 6'3" 270 4.79 24.0 43.5 47 1.44 207
14 *Nick Perry USC 6'3" 250 4.60 21.5 29.5 37 1.38 103
208 Julian Miller West Virginia 6'4" 268 4.85 27.5 42.5 52 1.35 185
316 Frank Alexander Oklahoma 6'4" 255 4.85 20.5 44.0 48 1.34 142
12 Quinton Coples No. Carolina 6'6" 285 4.76 24.0 40.5 50 1.29 144
24 Whitney Mercilus Illinois 6'4" 265 4.68 18.0 29.0 37 1.27 81
59 *Chandler Jones Syracuse 6'5" 265 4.80 10.0 27.0 32 1.16 147
129 Jake Bequette Arkansas 6'5" 271 4.59 23.5 31 48 1.13 126
19 Melvin Ingram So. Carolina 6'2" 276 4.80 21.0 35.0 50 1.12 109
77 Cam Johnson Virginia 6'4" 270 4.76 12.5 33.5 42 1.09 123
34 Andre Branch Clemson 6'5" 260 4.77 18.5 33.0 48 1.07 186
170 *Olivier Vernon Miami 6'4" 265 4.73 9.0 21.0 30 1.00 82
101 Trevor Guyton California 6'3" 280 4.86 12.0 25 41 0.90 94
198 *Donte Paige-Moss No. Carolina 6'7" 260 4.75 11.0 19.5 34 0.90 83
332 Ryan Van Bergen Michigan 6'6" 288 4.84 14.5 27.5 50 0.84 135
243 Derrick Shelby Utah 6'3" 271 4.86 11.0 28 47 0.83 169
287 Taylor Thompson SMU 6'6" 287 4.85 18.0 22.5 50 0.81 139
334 Jamie Blatnick Oklahoma St. 6'3" 265 4.90 16.0 25.0 51 0.80 118
300 Justin Francis Rutgers 6'4" 275 4.85 12.0 22.0 43 0.77 106
181 Jacquies Smith Missouri 6'4" 255 4.60 13.0 26.0 51 0.76 159
160 Jack Crawford Penn State 6'5" 273 4.79 14.0 26.0 48 0.62 89
359 Jamaar Jarrett Arizona St. 6'5" 262 4.90 7.5 20.5 46 0.61 100
304 DeAngelo Tyson Georgia 6'2" 316 5.00 3.0 8.5 50 0.23 79

Now you can see why I have stated this is a deep draft for Defensive Ends. Half of the invites graded out well in the Production Ratio. Just by sheer volume I would venture that the Broncos will grab one of these players.

Former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist wrote an article on Defensive Ends and another on Defensive Tackles. They are both worthwhile reading. He includes these tidbits from separate studies:

71.4% of Defensive Ends drafted 1-10 in the first round made 56 starts in their first 5 seasons (1994-2003) and from picks 11-20 that number fell to 36.8%, 30% from picks 21-50.

Defensive Tackles are most commonly found in the 1st round (21%), 2nd round (12%) and as undrafted free agents (18%). That last number seems significantly high, but in comparison to other positions is actually on the low end.

By this conclusion, it would be wise for the Broncos to secure a Defensive Tackle with one of their top two picks. The Defensive Ends are plentiful and could stand patience before selecting, but hey, I'm not a fly on the wall at Denver's draft headquarters, so this is all speculation. EFX will weigh their options, choose the best player possible and then we can analyze the moves. Just like always.


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