News & Analysis

PFF stats to know for the 2019 NFL Draft

By Austin Gayle
Apr 24, 2019

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The 2019 NFL Draft is upon us. With scouting clichés and anonymous quotes from scouts flying around now merely hours before the first name is called on Thursday, we at Pro Football Focus delve into the absolute with our top advanced statistics.

Below is a range of PFF’s advanced statistics across all positions that highlight some of the best draft prospects in each metric.

[Editor’s Note: To view all of Pro Football Focus’ advanced stats and grades for draft-eligible players, check out our 2019 NFL Draft Guide. All EDGE and ELITE subscribers already have access to the guide, and for those who don’t, you can get your copy for as low as $9.99!]

Quarterbacks

Big-Time Throws

Boise State signal-caller Brett Rypien led the draft class in big-time throws (33) in 2018. Will Grier (32), Drew Lock (30) and Kyler Murray (29) followed closely behind Rypien at second, third and fourth in the class, respectively.

Adjusted Completion Percentage

Among the 33 quarterbacks in this year’s class with 300-plus dropbacks in 2018, Gardner “The Mustache” Minshew ranked first in adjusted completion percentage (80.7%). Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray ranked second at 78.9%.

Yards after the Catch Percentage

NC State’s Ryan Finley relied on his supporting cast for passing yards the least when compared to the rest of this year’s crop of signal-callers. Only 33.1% of Finley’s passing yards came after the catch in 2018, the lowest percentage of the 2019 NFL Draft’s quarterbacks with 300 or more dropbacks this past season.

Clean-Pocket Passer Rating

Kyler Murray led the draft class in passer rating from a clean pocket (144.4) in 2018, completing 223-of-311 attempts for 3,780 yards, 36 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Dwayne Haskins (135.4) and Will Grier (132.6) ranked second and third, respectively, in clean-pocket passer rating in 2018.

Passer Rating Under Pressure

Brett Rypien led all qualifying FBS quarterbacks entering this year’s draft in passer rating under pressure at 91.7 in 2018. Penn State’s Trace McSorley finished second in passer rating under pressure (88.8).

Running Backs

Forced Missed Tackles per Carry

Iowa State’s David Montgomery forced 99 missed tackles across 256 carries in 2018, giving him a class-high 0.39 forced missed tackles per carry figure. FAU’s Devin Singletary (0.36), Florida’s Jordan Scarlett (0.32) and Utah State’s Darwin Thompson (0.32) fell just behind Montgomery in forced missed tackles per carry on the year.

Yards after Contact per Carry

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, a home run hitter in this year’s class, averaged 6.2 yards after contact per attempt in 2018, ranking first among qualifying backs in this year’s draft. Darwin Thompson (5.1) and Nebraska’s Devine Ozigbo (4.5) ranked second and third, respectively.

First Down/Touchdown Percentage

Alabama running back Josh Jacobs recorded a first down or touchdown on 41.0% of his 121 carries in 2018, ranking tied for first in the class with Ohio’s Maleek Irons.

Passer Rating When Targeted

Josh Jacobs led the class in passer rating when targeted (151.0) in 2018, catching 20-of-23 targets for 247 yards, 11 first downs and three touchdowns in the process. Memphis’ Darrell Henderson (140.2) ranked second in the class.

Wide Receivers

Yards per Route Run

Massachusetts wide receiver Andy Isabella led all FBS wide receivers in yards per route run (4.15) in 2018, catching 101-of-146 targets for 1,696 yards, 55 first downs, and 13 touchdowns. Missouri wideout Emanuel Hall (4.14) ranked second in the class.

Yards after the Catch

Ohio State wideout Parris Campbell led all FBS wide receivers in total yards after the catch (809) and ranked seventh in yards after the catch per reception (8.9). Ole Miss’ DK Metcalf (9.7) and Deebo Samuel (9.6) ranked third and fourth in the class, respectively, in yards after the catch per reception.

Passer Rating When Targeted

Terry McLaurin caught 35-of-49 targets for 701 yards, 17 first downs and 11 touchdowns in 2018, all combining for a class-high passer rating when targeted at 153.3. West Virginia’s Gary Jennings (144.7) and Missouri’s Emanuel Hall (141.8) ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Contested Catches

Stanford wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside led all FBS wide receivers entering this year’s draft in contested catches (19) in 2018. Jakobi Meyers, Kelvin Harmon, N’Keal Harry, and Hakeem Butler all ranked tied for second in the class with 17 contested catches apiece this past season.

Tight Ends

 Yards per Route Run

Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr., and UCLA’s Caleb Wilson both averaged 2.56 yards per route run in 2018, ranking tied for first in this year’s class. Iowa tight ends TJ Hockenson (2.21) and Noah Fant (2.15) ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Passer Rating When Targeted

Irv Smith Jr. also led the class in passer rating when targeted (157.7), while the Iowa tight ends TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant ranked second and third in the metric at 139.1 and 131.2, respectively.

Contested Catches

San Jose State phenom Josh Oliver made 16 contested catches in 2018, four more than any other tight end in the 2019 class. Stanford’s Kaden Smith was the only one to come close with his 12 contested catches a year ago.

Interior Offensive Line

 Pressure Percentage Allowed

Buffalo center James O’Hagan, USC guard Chris Brown, Western Michigan center John Keenoy, and Miami (OH) guard Sam McCollum all ranked tied for first in pressure percentage allowed (0.9%).

Offensive Tackles

 Pressure Percentage Allowed

USC offensive tackle Chuma Edoga led all FBS offensive tackles with 300 or more pass-blocking snaps in pressure percentage allowed (1.3%). Kansas State’s Dalton Risner (1.4%), Oklahoma’s Cody Ford (1.6%), and Washington State’s Andre Dillard (1.8%) ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, in pressure percentage allowed a year ago.

Interior Defenders

Pass-Rush Win Percentage

Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery led all interior defensive linemen in pass-rush win percentage (19.6%) in 2018. Alabama’s Quinnen Williams (19.4%), Clemson’s Christian Wilkins (16.7%), and Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons (16.5%) ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, in the metric.

Total Pressures

Ohio State interior defender Dre’Mont Jones (52) ranked second behind Alabama’s Quinnen Williams (55) in total pressures in 2018.

Run Stops

No defensive interior had more run stops than Quinnen Williams in 2018, as he logged a whopping 42 across his 295 run-defense snaps. Miami (Fla.) defensive interior Gerald Willis III (37) and Western Illinois’ Khalen Saunders (35) ranked second and third behind Williams, respectively.

Edge Defenders

Pass-Rush Win Percentage

Arkansas State edge defender Ronheen Bingham led all qualifiers at his position in this year’s draft class in pass-rush win percentage at 31.9% in 2018. Kentucky’s Josh Allen finished just behind Bingham in the metric at 29.1% a year ago.

Total Pressures

Florida State’s Brian Burns led all FBS edge defenders in total pressures with 66 in 2018, while Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith finished second (65).

Run Stops

Last season, Akron’s Jamal Davis II led the class in run stops, with 40. Eastern Michigan edge defender Maxx Crosby (35) and Michigan’s Chase Winovich (34) ranked second and third, respectively.

Off-Ball Linebackers

Completion Percentage Allowed

Notre Dame off-ball linebacker Te’von Coney allowed just a 51.3 completion percentage in 2018, leading all at his position entering this year’s draft.

Coverage Stops

California’s Jordan Kunaszyk and Utah’s Cody Barton shared the lead in coverage stops (22) this past season among FBS off-ball linebackers in this year’s draft class. McNeese’s BJ Blunt and Washington standout Ben Burr-Kirven ranked tied for third with 20 in 2018.

Cornerbacks

Forced Incompletion Percentage

UAB cornerback D.A. Williams led all draft-eligible FBS cornerbacks targeted 25 or more times this past season in forced incompletion percentage at 39.5%. Michigan’s David Long finished second on the list at 32.3%.

Passer Rating when Targeted

Army’s Mike Reynolds allowed a class-low 11.6 passer rating when targeted a year ago. David Long (36.9) and Boston College’s Hamp Cheevers (38.7) finished second and third, respectively, in passer rating allowed.

Safeties

Forced Incompletion Percentage

Delaware safety Nasir Adderley finished second in this year’s draft class in forced incompletion percentage at 34.8% in 2018. Middle Tennessee’s Jovante Moffatt (35.0%) finished just ahead of him on the year.

Coverage Stops

Purdue’s Jacob Thieneman tallied 17 coverage stops last year. Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram and Kentucky’s Mike Edwards finished tied for second in this year’s safety class in total coverage stops with 16 apiece in 2018.

Run Stops

Marshall safety Malik Gant finished the 2018 season with a class-high 36 run stops. No other FBS safety entering the 2019 NFL Draft had more than 28 a year ago.

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