CFF Sig Stats: Linebackers
After 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
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.
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.
– 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.
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.
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