Three Years of Pass Rushing Productivity: Interior Defensive Linemen

| June 22, 2011

As you read here on Monday, our three-year Pass Rushing Productivity piece on edge rushers was due to be followed by a companion article focused on the men of the interior. So, on the heels of that look at defensive ends and outside linebackers comes this breakdown of those bigger guys working inside.
 
These Defensive Interior Pass Rushing Productivity ratings, like the others, are not just for 2010, but will also cover the past three years.
 
Same format, same simple formula: we take sacks, hits, and hurries (with weighting toward sacks) divide it by the number of snaps spent rushing the passer, apply a multiplier to tidy it up and that all spits out the PRP.
 
The qualifying minimum for the look at 2010 is, as ever, 200 snaps. That leaves us with 95 defensive tackles and 3-4 ends to sift through, and some interesting names appear near the top. I’d hazard a guess that, unprompted, not many people would say Patriot Mike Wright was the most productive interior pass rushing lineman last year. He was, and it was such a shame (for him, for the Pats, and for football fans) that his season was cut short. Wright may not be that great against the run, but you only need to watch his performance against Pittsburgh to know what he’s capable of as a pass rusher.
 
In the second spot, we have a defensive tackle that I not too long ago wrote a piece on in the shape of Antonio Garay. I’ll direct you to that piece for a more in-depth look at the underrated Charger, and move on to some ends who you would probably expect to see in these rankings.
 
Club hand and all, Cullen Jenkins is likely to have quite the market for his services given what he can do (and has done) in 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. He was even more productive than a guy who seems to be finally get his due in Justin Smith. He’s another one with a more detailed piece.
 
It seems this is becoming a link-fest … you’ll also see we’ve published pieces about the performances of Geno Atkins and Shaun Rogers (here and here). Rogers is a particularly interesting one because of the misconceptions that surround him. Many think he’s going to New Orleans to – as a former nose tackle – eat- up blockers and free-up Jonathan Vilma and Co.. Only that’s not his game. He’s a penetrator who is more likely to get up field and do something hurtful to either runner or quarterback. He’ll make the Saints defense better, but not for the reasons you might think.
 
Enough linking though, here’s a list of the top 20 PRP ratings from the past season:
 

Pass Rushing Productivity, Interior Defensive Linemen, Top 20, 2010

Rank
Player
Pos.
Team
Pass Rush Snaps
Total Pressures
PRP
1Mike WrightENDNE218279.98
2Antonio GarayDTSD250299.30
3Cullen JenkinsENDGB411468.88
4Justin SmithENDSF499568.87
5Trevor PryceENDNYJ227268.81
6Shaun RogersDTCLV272308.55
7Geno AtkinsDTCIN290318.45
8Wallace GilberryENDKC404428.23
9Richard SeymourDTOAK356378.22
10Tommy KellyDTOAK451447.71
11Kyle WilliamsDTBUF440437.67
12Shaun EllisENDNYJ478467.58
13Jason D. JonesDTTEN436407.11
14Vonnie HollidayENDWAS295256.61
15Sammie Lee HillDTDET204176.50
16Stephen BowenENDDAL389336.49
17Calais CampbellENDARZ424346.37
18B.J. RajiDTGB643516.26
19Fred RobbinsDTSL443346.09
20Gerald McCoyDTTB386306.09

 

In these pieces, we’ll often follow the top guys with a glance at the bottom twenty, but do you really need to be told that Pat Williams and Aubrayo Franklin aren’t great pass rushers? No, the bottom group features names you’d expect to see there because of the style of player they are and, frankly, it just isn’t much fun. Instead, let’s just move along and get to the real juicy, never-before-seen stuff, shall we?  That’s right, the three year data.
 
The qualifying number of pass rushing snaps has risen to 700, giving us 67 valiant defensive linemen qualifying to compete for the top spot. But who will it be? Well, we’ve spoken about him already … Cullen Jenkins is the top dog, ever so slightly finishing ahead of Justin Smith who has, by some distance, produced the most total pressure over the past three years.
 
The surprise is the man in third, Trevor Pryce, who struggled for playing time with the Jets after being cut by the Ravens earlier in the year. His last performance against the Steelers in the AFC Championship game showed he can still go, and he could be an interesting pick-up for a team looking contributor in the pass D game.
 
Another name that could be interesting – though it comes with considerable baggage – is that of Albert Haynesworth. Things haven’t gone his way since moving to Washington, but on the field (when he’s been on it) he’s always been productive. For someone willing to take a gamble on Albert the person, they could get one heck of a player. He finished fifth overall, just behind Shaun Rogers and ahead of two of his former Titan teammates in Jason Jones (seventh) and Tony Brown (ninth).
 
Going through the list, perhaps the most noticeable thing (and this applies to the 2010 list as well) is the absence of Darnell Dockett. By no means poor (he finished 21st), Dockett largely gets credits which is probably more due the impressive physical specimen that is Calais Campbell. Since getting a starting spot in 2009, Campbell has largely outplayed Dockett, though it seems to have gone unnoticed. I’m chalking it up to my theory about big hair equaling more television time (I look forward to writing an article on that one day.)
 
Getting back on course, here’s a list of the top 20 interior guys from the past three years:
 

Pass Rushing Productivity, Interior Defensive Linemen, Top 20, 2008-2010

Rank
Player
Pos.
Team
Pass Rush Snaps
Total Pressures
PRP
1Cullen JenkinsENDGB10581118.25
2Justin SmithENDSF16501748.24
3Trevor PryceENDNYJ11521167.88
4Shaun RogersDTNO994997.72
5Albert HaynesworthDTWAS892827.29
6Richard SeymourDTOAK11311037.23
7Jason D. JonesDTTEN884776.93
8Mike WrightENDNE789676.81
9Tony BrownDTTEN12161036.62
10Tommy KellyDTOAK1178996.60
11Randy StarksENDMIA1164966.51
12Kevin WilliamsDTMIN17221436.46
13Cory ReddingDTBLT968786.30
14Calais CampbellENDARZ1074856.28
15Kyle WilliamsDTBUF1156926.21
16Vonnie HollidayENDWAS966756.16
17Stephen BowenENDDAL877706.13
18Brandon MebaneDTSEA1126865.93
19Shaun EllisENDNYJ14351055.85
20Jay RatliffDTDAL14241035.76

 

So, there you have it. That’s our look at interior defensive linemen and how productive they are as pass rushers. Of course, there are always factors that stats can’t account for (injuries, level of opposition, etc.), but it’s a pretty good indicator of which guys are getting the job done. Any quarterback that has been harassed by Justin Smith or Cullen Jenkins will tell you the same.
 
 
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  • papabear

    Where did Amobi Okoye come out on this? He is usually among the leaders for DT/NT in hits and pressure despite not having big sack totals. Did the snap count hurt him or did the 3-4 ends just push him down the list?

    • Rick Drummond

      Okoye’s PRP in 2010 was 5.13 on 482 pass rushing snaps.

      His three-year PRP was 4.97 on 1374 pass rushing snaps.