Free Agent Profile: Pernell McPhee

A versatile defender, Pernell McPhee offers a unique skillset that will excite suitors. Chris Phillips breaks down what he's shown so far.

| 2 years ago

Free Agent Profile: Pernell McPhee

2015-FA-profile-feat-mcpheeFor teams in need of pass rushing help, this offseason could provide a variety of different options. Players from Brian Orakpo and Jerry Hughes to Brandon Graham and Derrick Morgan could be available. Today we take a quick look at Pernell McPhee.

McPhee was a fifth round pick for the Baltimore Ravens out of Mississippi State in 2011. At 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds he could have potentially filled the role of a situational inside pass rusher or bulked up to play 3-4 end. He ended up providing them with a balance of both roles. He played with his hand on the ground for most of his first two years, lining up at end and tackle in 4-3 looks and also lining up as an end in 3-4 looks. He finished his rookie year with a +20.8 overall grade including a +20.5 pass rushing mark. McPhee also led all interior lineman with a 9.2 Pass Rush Productivity rating.

Injuries cut right through the middle of his second year in 2012 (causing him to miss Weeks 8-12) but he still ended up ranked 10th among 3-4 ends in Pass Rush Productivity with a 6.5 rating. He was able to regain his form in time to give the Ravens a positive boost in the playoffs — grading at +4.0 total for the last three games of the Ravens championship run.

2013 was a transitional year for McPhee with the Ravens trying to maximize his athleticism and moving him outside on some snaps into a traditional 3-4 outside linebacker role. He only played 313 snaps but held his own with a +4.3 overall grade, including a +1.9 mark in run defense and +1.6 rushing the passer.

This past season was McPhee’s breakout year, a year in which he was able to rank second out of all 3-4 outside linebackers with a +26.0 overall grade (and +28.4 including the playoffs), even though his 540 total snaps were half as many as some of his counterparts. His pass rushing grade of +23.1 ranked him third behind only Justin Houston and teammate Elvis Dumervil, and he managed a solid +3.2 grade against the run.


Our signature stats show his 14.4 Pass Rushing Productivity rating ranking second overall and his 64 total pressures third. When rushing off the right side of the formation his 18.1 PRP topped all 3-4 outside linebackers. The next closest mark from the right side was 13.4. This is even more impressive due to the fact that teams have their best pass blockers on the left side. To put this into perspective, we can compare McPhee’s numbers rushing from the right side to teammate Terrell Suggs. Suggs finished 11th rushing from the right side with a 9.2 PRP. Suggs generated 46 total pressures from the right compared to 44 for McPhee. The difference is, Suggs needed 405 rush snaps compared to only 188 for McPhee.

McPhee had great success rushing from the outside, but that did not slow down his ability to create havoc from all other areas on the interior. Out of his 372 total pass rushes only 75 came strictly from the 3-4 OLB position and 120 of his pass rushes came from different linebacker positions. These rushes generated 22 total pressures, good for a 19.7% pressure percentage. 115 of his rushes came as either a LE or RE with his hand on the ground. He generated 16 total pressures on these rushes, giving him a 13.9% pressure percentage. Teams covet players that can generate pressure of the edge but it can be even more difficult to find a player that can consistently generate inside pressure.

These clips below highlight some of his talents. They show his ability to be effective as an inside rusher and to get the edge as an outside rusher.

Indy inside NO edge

Pernell McPhee is young and just hitting his prime. He not only provides value as an edge rusher but can also do damage from inside. He could fit with either a 4-3 scheme or a 3-4 scheme. The best fit for him would be with a team that embraces his versatility (like the Ravens did) and that shows the willingness and creativity to move him around and maximize his pass rushing ability. Expect McPhee to garner plenty of interest if he hits the open market.



  • Rick S.

    McPhee will be the Everson Griffen of 2015, in that he will be someone that many people haven’t heard of that will deservedly be paid very well.

    With McPhee, Suggs and Dumerville, Baltimore had an embarrassment of riches at OLB/Edge Rusher and probably can’t pay justify paying all three high $$$ contracts.