Sig Stats: Tackling Efficiency, LBs

Continuing our Signature Stat look back at 2014, Steve Palazzolo checks in on the season's best and worst tacklers among the linebackers.

| 2 years ago
2014-Sig-Stats-tkleff-LB

Sig Stats: Tackling Efficiency, LBs


2014-Sig-Stats-tkleff-LBOur Signature Stat section is loaded with unique measures of player ability, perhaps none simpler than our Tackling Efficiency stat. While the main pages will show missed tackles, the signature stat page puts them into context against the rest of the league. While scouts will often cite poor tackling technique or laud the ability of “sure tacklers,” nothing gets to the heart of it like an actual on-field measure of tackling. It’s pretty self-explanatory but here’s more information about Tackling Efficiency and a look at the best tackling linebackers in 2014.

Top Inside Linebackers

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
1  James Laurinaitis SL 997 79 26 4 27.3
2  Jasper Brinkley MIN 439 55 21 4 20.0
3  Avery Williamson TEN 787 56 18 4 19.5
4  A.J. Hawk GB 810 64 25 5 18.8
4  Chris Kirksey CLV 649 60 11 4 18.8
6  Daryl Smith BLT 996 93 16 7 16.6
7  Luke Kuechly CAR 961 122 25 10 15.7
8  David Harris NYJ 970 85 14 7 15.1
9  Bobby Wagner SEA 620 74 18 7 14.1
10  Keenan Robinson WAS 769 77 17 8 12.8

While he didn’t have a great year from a grade standpoint (-8.9), James Laurinaitis proved to be a sure tackler missing just one out of every 27.3 attempts. Jasper Brinkley added his usual fine work in the running game to go with his strong tackling while rookie fifth-round pick Avery Williamson was a nice find for the Titans. He didn’t miss a tackle in coverage all season.

Bottom Inside Linebackers

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
29  Paul Worrilow ATL 1034 108 28 21 7.5
29  Wesley Woodyard TEN 848 60 31 14 7.5
29  Curtis Lofton NO 995 123 19 22 7.5
32  Miles Burris OAK 990 81 22 16 7.4
32  Casey Matthews PHI 419 34 11 7 7.4
34  Donald Butler SD 659 42 15 9 7.3
34  Brandon Spikes BUF 472 37 13 8 7.3
36  Brian Cushing HST 688 49 18 12 6.6
37  Josh Mauga KC 968 83 22 21 6.0
38  Sean Spence PIT 476 36 8 9 5.9
39  Larry Foote ARZ 950 64 16 18 5.4

Larry Foote was active in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme, but unfortunately he was unable to complete a number of plays including missing one out of every 5.4 tackle attempts. A surprising name on the list is that of Brandon Spikes who seemed to be a fixture among the top tacklers in the league when he was in New England but he missed one of every 7.3 attempts in his first year with the Bills. Curtis Lofton led all ILBs with 22 missed tackles including missing one of every 7.5 attempts to tie for ninth-worst in the league.

Rookie Watch

Williamson had a nice season while Browns LB Chris Kirksey was right behind him, missing one of every 18.8 tackles. The only other rookie with significant playing time was Ravens LB C.J. Mosley who had an excellent first season coming in third in our Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. He made plays all over the field, but his tackling efficiency landed in the middle of the pack with one miss in every 10.1 attempts.

Top 4-3 Outside Linebackers

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
1  Brandon M. Marshall DEN 830 89 21 4 28.5
2  Vincent Rey CIN 598 68 15 4 21.8
3  Preston Brown BUF 937 67 26 6 16.5
4  Christian Jones CHI 419 47 14 4 16.3
5  Von Miller DEN 873 35 7 3 15.0
6  Geno Hayes JAX 555 45 10 4 14.8
7  Joplo Bartu ATL 458 54 22 6 13.7
8  Jelani Jenkins MIA 871 86 22 9 13.0
9  Gerald Hodges MIN 454 49 12 6 11.2
10  Nigel Bradham BUF 766 69 18 9 10.7

A breakout season for Brandon Marshall was highlighted by ranking in the top spot among 4-3 outside linebackers in the tackling department. He got in on 110 total tackles with only four misses. A pair of rookies took up the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in Preston Brown and Christian Jones. Defensive Player of the Year third runner up, Von Miller, ranked fifth as he proved a sure tackler in addition to his usual pass rushing and run stopping acumen.

Bottom 4-3 Outside Linebackers

# Name Team Snaps Tackles Assists Missed Tackles Tackling Efficiency
18  DeAndre Levy DET 984 121 23 19 8.6
19  Thomas Davis CAR 897 83 14 14 7.9
20  Lavonte David TB 886 120 12 20 7.6
21  Chad Greenway MIN 672 58 21 12 7.6
22  Sio Moore OAK 649 65 16 13 7.2
23  Ramon Humber NO 425 39 8 8 6.9
24  Alec Ogletree SL 1000 95 20 20 6.8
25  Bruce Carter DAL 426 44 9 10 6.3
26  David Hawthorne NO 705 64 8 16 5.5
27  Parys Haralson NO 468 24 7 8 4.9
28  Anthony Barr MIN 737 55 22 22 4.5

Despite a strong debut for Vikings rookie LB Anthony Barr, he struggled in space at times in his new role as a traditional linebacker and missed one of every 4.5 tackle attempts including a league-high 16 in coverage. Second-year LB Alec Ogletree is another player that flashed his potential throughout the season but poor tackling held him to a -3.9 overall grade as he missed 10 tackles in the run game and 10 in the passing game.

Rookie Watch

Aside from Barr’s struggles, the rookies fared well as Brown and Jones ranked near the top and defensive rookie of the year runner-up Khalil Mack fell right in the middle with one miss every 8.9 attempts. Though he didn’t have enough snaps to qualify for the list, Giants rookie LB Devon Kennard missed only one tackle in 39 attempts while Falcons LB Prince Shembo missed one of every 26 attempts, both marks that would have ranked among the best with enough snaps.

 

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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Seattle Steve

    AJ Hawk top five?
    ewww…

    • Ken

      He had good tackling efficiency. Doesn’t actually mean he played well. Given his -11 cumulative grade, I’d say he didn’t…

  • eYeDEF

    Who knew a stud like Levy was such a dog of a tackler?

  • bob barker

    Two Buffalo LBs on the top 10 OLB list and Kiko never even saw the field. Such an improvement over the cluster Buffalo had at LB a few years back. Hope Rex can scheme to keep them all on the field.

  • John Pinkley

    PFF says Laurinaitis is Average though!