Last week I took a special look at the league’s most productive pass rushers, and this week I’m giving equal time to inspect the most (and least) efficient pass-blocking offensive tackles.
Now, the best method for checking in on the NFL’s top pass blockers involves purchasing a PFF Premium Subscription and looking at our grading — which accounts for more than just the numbers, looking at time to pressure and more. But if you’re looking for purely numerical values, then you can’t beat our Pass Blocking Efficiency statistic, which is just one of a number of our Signature Stats (also available via a Premium Subscription, conveniently enough).
The formula is simple enough: the total combined pressure (with hits and hurries weighted as three quarters the worth of sacks) divided by number of pass blocking snaps, multiplied by (and then removed from) 100 to give a figure where the closer to 100 you are, the better you’ve performed.
Today we’re going to be looking at all tackles who have spent 150 snaps in pass protection (at tackle).
Top of the Tackles
When you think of the top pass protecting tackles in the league, how long is it before the name Winston Justice springs to mind? It’s gone largely unnoticed but in his 173 pass blocks he’s given up just two hurries, compared to his teammate Anthony Castonzo who has given up 19 quarterback disruptions on his 247 pass blocks. Quite the discrepancy. Castonzo is far from the bottom, so this more an indication of how rock solid Justice has been and how important it is the Colts keep him healthy.
While Justice has the top rating there’s always more interest in left tackles, so who leads the way there? Well, step forward Ryan Clady who is picking the right time to produce his best form with his contract coming up. He’s building himself a case for Joe Thomas-type money with the Cleveland Brown left tackle just behind him in the third spot.
It’s not a surprise to see Duane Brown fourth, but kudos to Marshall Newhouse who finds himself up in fifth overall. In 2011 he had the lowest score of all left tackles and has taken a giant leap forward. The sight of both Brown and Newhouse so high should act as a reminder to be patient with tackles, with both men having terrible seasons when they started.
1 Winston Justice IND 173 2 99.1
2 Ryan Clady DEN 240 5 98.4
3 Joe Thomas CLV 245 7 97.8
4 Duane Brown HST 197 6 97.7
5 Marshall Newhouse GB 263 8 97.3
5 Branden Albert KC 233 8 97.3
5 Jake Long MIA 213 7 97.3
8 Jeff Backus DET 246 9 97.2
8 Andrew Whitworth CIN 242 8 97.2
8 Matt Kalil MIN 237 9 97.2
11 William Beatty NYG 189 8 96.8
12 Sebastian Vollmer NE 232 10 96.7
12 Trent Williams WAS 165 7 96.7
14 D'Brickashaw Ferguson NYJ 191 9 96.5
15 Orlando Franklin DEN 238 11 96.3
Giving Protection a Bad Name
While some tackles make life easier for their quarterbacks, others, of course, don’t. If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan you know what this means. Indeed not only do D’Anthony Batiste (40) and Bobby Massie (34) lead the league in total pressures given up, but they also own the worst Pass Blocking Efficiency of all tackles. To the surprise of no one, Batiste is the bigger liability, but Massie (who has given up one more sack) shouldn’t be given a free ride. They’re being bested by an undrafted free agent like Michael Harris – although the Charger has the third worst score, so he can hardly take comfort in that.
More surprising names are Gabe Carimi with the fourth-lowest score, looking anything but a first-rounder in protection (even if he looks handy in the run game). The Bears will be hoping to see improvement from him, in the same way the Packers will be hoping Bryan Bulaga finds his 2011 form and quickly. He’s regressed as fast as Newhouse has improved.
43 Tyler Polumbus WAS 202 18 93.2
44 Doug Free DAL 209 19 93.1
45 Jeromey Clary SD 230 20 92.8
45 Jonathan Martin MIA 211 20 92.8
47 Max Starks PIT 212 20 92.7
48 Bryan Bulaga GB 263 25 92.6
49 Barry Richardson SL 208 20 92.3
49 Jermon Bushrod NO 248 25 92.3
51 Wayne Hunter SL 178 19 91.4
52 Austin Howard NYJ 190 22 91.1
53 Demetress Bell PHI 192 24 90.6
54 Gabe Carimi CHI 175 24 89.3
55 Michael Harris SD 156 22 89.1
56 Bobby Massie ARZ 253 34 88.9
57 D'Anthony Batiste ARZ 253 40 87.3
Stick with Pro Football Focus over the course of the season to see how these numbers develop, something you can do on a week-by-week, game-by-game basis with a Premium Subscription.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled