FanPost

Defensive Ends in the Draft - Impacts/game


To evaluate any college prospect there are three things that need to be analyzed:

1. Game tape - watching what they did, against whom and HOW they accomplished what they accomplished

2. Combine results (and pro-day results) - how much raw athleticism does the player have and how does he compare to other players at his position in the draft in terms of quickness, speed and strength.

3. In game stats - how do his game numbers compare? Did he put up good numbers against top competition or did he just get stats against the "cream-puffs" on the schedule?

This is a follow-up post to my earlier fanpost where I focused on combine numbers. In this post I am going to focus on the comparative numbers for the defensive ends. I am going to use a metric called impacts per game. Impact plays for defensive lineman are sacks, tackles-for-loss (TFL), passes batted down (PBU) and QB hurries. I did not include forced fumbles or interceptions, but you could make an argument that they should be included. I don't include tackles in this data because defensive lineman may have a very impactful game without actually getting credit for many (if any) tackles. Looking at the number of these per game played gives you an idea of whether or not the player is consistent throughout his college career. Guys who only have one good season (Robert Ayers) are going to have low impacts/game numbers. All data was compiled from www.cfbstats.com Guys who played below the BCS level were not included because I don't like comparing apples to tomatoes. At least comparing SEC players to MAC players stats is only comparing apples to oranges. I have also left off the most of the larger DEs (3-4 DEs) who could also play DT in the NFL (most of those guys are close to or above 300 lbs). I'm focusing on DE/OLB types which are more Von Miller and less Derek Wolfe.

College Career Total

Height

Weight

Games

Sacks

PBU

Hurries

TFL

Impacts/Gm

Jeffcoat

6-3

247

40

26.5

9

28

48.5

2.80

Clowney

6-5

266

36

24.0

7

20

47.0

2.72

Murphy

6-5

250

43

32.5

11

11

52.5

2.49

Lawrence

6-3

251

23

19.0

1

3

34.0

2.48

Martin

6-6

272

49

19.5

13

39

45.5

2.39

Crichton

6-3

273

38

22.5

9

2

51.0

2.22

Gayle

6-4

259

53

22.0

2

44

40.5

2.05

Lynch

6-5

249

25

10.5

3

18

18.5

2.00

C. Smith

6-1

266

43

21.5

7

20

30.5

1.84

Ford

6-2

252

52

23.5

2

40

27.5

1.79

Attaochu

6-3

252

49

31.5

5

6

43.5

1.76

Ealy

6-4

273

39

14.0

13

12

27.5

1.71

M. Smith

6-3

251

45

23.5

6

14

33.0

1.70

Shembo

6-1

253

51

18.5

1

35

23.5

1.53

Sam

6-2

261

52

20.5

3

15

36.0

1.43

Clarke

6-6

271

41

10.0

8

9

29.5

1.38

Enemkpali

6-1

261

47

17.5

2

9

30.0

1.24

Edebali

6-2

253

49

10.0

15

4

23.5

1.07

Hart

6-6

281

52

16.0

10

5

22.0

1.02

Mauro

6-6

271

47

11.0

3

5

21.5

0.86

Marsh

6-4

252

50

13.0

5

3

22.0

0.86

Uko

6-3

284

39

11.5

2

2

18.0

0.86

Mims

6-4

260

26

3.5

0

2

10.0

0.60

You can see from the chart why Clowney is so highly rated despite only having 3 sacks last season. He accounted for lots of other impacts. This data set makes both Lawrence and Murphy look really good. It also seems to contradict my own analysis of Kareem Martin (that he doesn't show up in some games). Martin has a really good impacts/game value. Some of the numbers in the chart give me pause. Do the official scorers for the Ducks and Broncos just not give credit for QB hurries? Crichton and Lawrence were only credited with 2 and 3 hurries in their entire college careers despite racking up decent sack numbers. Another thing to remember when looking at the data is that a few of these guys played as true OLBs while most of these guys played almost exclusively as hand-in-the-dirt DEs. Guys who dropped into coverage alot (like Edebali) might have more more PBUs than guys who exclusively rushed the passer (like Mauro).

The push-back against any comparison of this nature is always going to be that Player A who played for Big State U accumulated most of his numbers against teams like Western Kentucky, Arkansas State and UC-Davis. Player A wasn't able to do much when playing against the highest level of college competition. So let's look deeper at the top five players in terms of impacts per game to see if they were able to perform against the highest level of competition. Are any of these guys "player A"?

Jeffcoat - appears to have played equally well against elite and average teams. No stat-padding against FCS opponents.

Clowney - no excessive stat padding against weak team. Appears to have played almost at a higher level against ranked teams.

Murphy - appears to have played equally well against elite and average teams. No stat-padding against FCS opponents. Lots of chances to play against ranked teams

Lawrence - Played in a weaker conference than previous three guys, but didn't rack up too many stats against weak opponents.

Martin - 3 of his 19.5 career sacks came against FCS teams. 5.5 of his career 45.5 TFL came against FCS teams. 4 of his career 39 QB hurries came against FCS teams. Not a huge % of his production, so I would not throw up a red flag over this. What's a little concerning is looking at how Martin fared against ranked opponents. In 9 career games against ranked teams(end of year ranking): 1.0 sack, 3.5 TFL, 3 QB hurries, 1 PBU. Because of the of overall decline of the ACC, Martin had limited chances to play against ranked teams.

In the top five all of them appear to have performed well against top competition.

I guess the question to ask is - "Do we need another pass rusher?" The answer to that it yes, always, yes. You can never have too many players who can get to the opposing QB. The question is not whether we draft one this year, but in what round. If a player like Ealy falls to 31 do we take him? If Murphy is there in the 3rd do we take him (assuming we went OL and CB in the first 2 rounds)? You've now seen a breakdown of both combine data and in-game data for these guys, who do you like and when?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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