CFF Sig Stats: Linebackers

Mike Renner explores the linebacker leaders in a selection of CFF Signature Stats.

| 2 years ago

CFF Sig Stats: Linebackers

CFF-sig-stats-LBAfter a year of digging into the college game for the first time, we’re now beginning to unveil our findings. As you’ll have seen we’ve started to bring you some content including player profiles, rankings, and some interesting Signature Stats from each position.

Matt Claassen had a look at the running backs yesterday (run game and pass game), and today Gordon McGuinness has run his eye over the receivers, with one article examining Yards Per Route Run and Drop Rate, and another taking in the Deep Passing game and Slot Performance. Now we switch sides and put the linebackers under the microscope.

It was glaringly apparent, after recording tackles for every single college game last season, that the official scorers in college hand tackles out as freely to linebackers, as the official scorers in the NFL do. To try and solve that problem we now bring our Signature Stats to the NCAA, hopefully providing a better means of comparison.

Note: While we acknowledge that some players had vastly different roles in their defenses, all off-ball linebackers are lumped together in this analysis.

Run Stop Percentage

A quick refresher on how we define a stop. It is essentially any play where the primary tackler prevents an offensive success. The official cutoffs are the following:

1st down: <40% of required yardage
2nd down: <60% of required yardage
3rd down: <100% of required yardage
4th down: <100% of required yardage

cff sig lb rspct

2014 NFL Leader – Chris Borland 21.3%

–  Paul Dawson’s run stop production dwarfed that of every other linebacker prospect in the country last year. His most impressive game of the season came early on against Minnesota, where he recorded a remarkable 11 stops in 33 snaps against the run.
–  Zach Vigil’s 60 run stops were the second-most among draftable prospects. Vigil also gets the ‘iron man’ award as his 1109 total snaps last year led the group.
–  Notable run-stuffing prospects Denzel Perryman (Miami, FL.) and Benardrick McKinney (Mississippi St.) weren’t too far behind, with RS% scores of 11.2% and 10.9%, respectively.

Tackling Efficiency

cff sig lb te top

2014 NFL Leader – James Laurinaitis 27.3

–  The Big Ten is well represented here, with half of our Top 10. Which is a bit of a surprise when you consider the running back talent coming out the conference.
–  Georgia’s Ramik Wilson, and Clemson’s Stephone Anthony, just missed the cut with tackling efficiencies of 17 and 14.6, respectively.
–  It’s impressive to see Quinton Alston at the top given his stature. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a 6-foot-1, 232-pound linebacker to be the best tackler in the class.

cff sig lb teff bot

–  An interesting combo for Chase Williams, finishing third in Run Stop Percentage while also holding down the foot of the Tackling Efficiency list.
–  Unsurprisingly, it’s hard to generate much draft buzz if you are already a poor tackler in college. Aaron Davis is the only one on this list to even get a combine invitation.
–  One of the higher rated prospects to show poorly was Kansas’ Ben Heeney who missed 22 tackles in 145 attempts, for a 6.6 tackling efficiency.

Pass Rushing Productivity

To arrive at our Pass Rushing Productivity score, all pressures (sacks, hits and hurries) are held against the number of pass-rushing opportunities for a player, with sacks being weighted heavier in the formula.

cff sig lb prp

2014 NFL Leader – Jamie Collins 25.3

–  There’s Paul Dawson again. When people said they were surprised by his poor combine performance, it was because he put up numbers like this on the field.
–  One notable absentee from all of these linebacker lists is UCLA’s Eric Kendricks. He was very close to making this one, though, with 11 total pressures in 54 pass rushes for a 17.1 PRP score.


Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_Mike

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Malachi

    big dawson fan, combine results could create value in drafting him later than he should go

  • Phantom of the Oprah Winfrey

    Interesting lack of Denzel Perryman in any of these.

  • Demarkus Tramail Swan

    We take Dawson in 2nd -3rd rd

  • ZoneReads

    Are there stats for pass coverage by LBs?

    • hfh

      The most important stats for a 3 down linebacker isn’t in this article :(

  • Jim Winslow

    Don’t like dawson, he is too small a relies too much on quickness, which works insanely well against college lineman with bad feet, but is useless without a power or speed game in the pros.

  • marc wenzler

    Love Dawson and am really hoping he’s there in the second for the dolphins to grab. All I needed to see was his performance in the bowl game against ole miss. He was absolutely dominant at every point on the field.

  • Gringo

    Could you post the coverage stats for LBs. Not sure if Dawson or Perryman are 3 down player at the next level