Signature Stat Snapshot: Pass Rushing Productivity

Because sacks don't tell the whole story, Khaled Elsayed mined the PFF Signature Stat 'Pass Rushing Productivity' to point out the best and worst.

| 4 years ago
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Signature Stat Snapshot: Pass Rushing Productivity


It’s time to updated another one of our signature stats: Pass Rushing Productivity.

This isn’t just about who has the most sacks. This is about who is generating the most pressure relative to how many times they rush the passer.

The usual formula applies. We add up sacks, hits and hurries (with hits and hurries worth three quarters of sacks) then divide that figure by the number of pass rushes, multiply by 100 and you have the PRP rating.

We’ve broken this article down into two pages, one looking at the guys primarily rushing from the edge, and the other looking at the interior guys (3-4 ends and defensive tackles). There’s a 100 pass rush minimum to qualify. Let’s see who leads the way, shall we?

The Cream of the Crop

I’ve been high on Von Miller since Day 1 in the NFL. He gets off, around, and through blocks like few others. But if you want some numbers to back that up, how about this — his 10 sacks, 11 hits, and 30 hurries give him a PRP rating of 15.7. You know who has a better rating? Nobody. He’s the top dog, and right now the premier pass rusher in the NFL.

Just behind him, and I do mean just, is Justin Houston. He has this knack for generating pressure, which can’t have escaped such an observant coaching crew as the Chiefs, right? Well, for some reason Houston has only rushed the passer on 58.3% of plays he’s on the field. That’s not a smart use of a guy who has the second-highest PRP rating with 30 QB disruptions on 155 pass rushes.

Elsewhere in the top five, Charles Johnson has recaptured the 2010 form that convinced the Panthers to make him a rich man. They’ve stopped, by and large, messing with where he lines up and just let him do what he does best — abuse right tackles. That’s a formula that has worked for the Dolphins and Cameron Wake in the past, and it’s still working with the former CFL star in the fourth spot, narrowly ahead of DeMarcus Ware.

The Top 20 features two rookies, with Bruce Irvin in the eighth spot and Melvin Ingram in 13th. The only downside is both men are purely situational players, with Ingram rushing the passer only 115 times. Can they handle the extra workload? Last year’s situational superstar, Aldon Smith, hasn’t been nearly as productive since moving to an every-down role, and is ‘only’ 21st this year.

Here’s the top 20

RankNameTeamPass Rush SnapsTotal PressurePRP
1Von MillerDEN2605115.7
2 Justin HoustonKC1553015.6
3 Charles JohnsonCAR2674714.1
4 Cameron WakeMIA3395613.2
5 DeMarcus WareDAL2333713.1
6 Lamarr WoodleyPIT1382212.5
7 Chris LongSL3044812.3
8 Bruce IrvinSEA1892711.9
9 Kyle MooreBUF1001511.8
10 Clay MatthewsGB2914211.7
10 Anthony SpencerDAL1301911.7
12 Melvin IngramSD1151711.3
13 Robert MathisIND1071411.2
14 Austen LaneJAX1001411
15 Ahmad BrooksSF2503510.9
16 John AbrahamATL2253010.8
17 Kamerion WimbleyTEN3324610.7
18 Jerry HughesIND1872510.6
19 Michael BennettTB3284410.5
19 Elvis DumervilDEN2883810.5
19 Aldon SmithSF2713510.5

The Not so Hot

If they’re the good, then who are the bad? Eugene Sims has managed just one sack on 108 pass rushes, though, like a few names on this list, he does have to play tackle in his team’s sub package defense. You’d still expect more than that.

Of the starters, Red Bryant appearing so high isn’t a surprise. He’s not a Seahawk for his pass-rushing prowess, but rather his sturdy work in the run game. A bigger surprise is to see how Adrian Clayborn was faring before his season ended prematurely. He picked up only five hurries on 119 pass rushes. That’s not why the Bucs drafted him.

Other names that pop out with disappointing figures are Willie Young, Andre Branch, and Will Smith, who all feature in the bottom 10. It’s interesting to note the Lions have three guys in the bottom 25. Something not right with that scheme? We know they have talent.

Here’s the bottom 20 edge rushers.

RankNameTeamPass Rush SnapsTotal PressurePRP
85 Eugene SimsSL10810.9
83 Red BryantSEA238103.2
83 Adrian ClaybornTB11953.2
82 Willie YoungDET10353.6
81 Derek WolfeDEN298143.8
80 Jared OdrickMIA344173.9
79 Matt ShaughnessyOAK229134.7
77 Andre BranchJAX197135.1
77 Courtney UpshawBLT197135.1
75 Will SmithNO322215.3
75 Lawrence JacksonDET10475.3
73 Cameron JordanNO342235.5
73 Daniel Te'o-NesheimTB212155.5
71 Robert GeathersCIN219155.6
71 Erik WaldenGB217165.6
70 Justin TuckNYG262206
69 Brooks ReedHST244196.1
67 Connor BarwinHST292236.2
67 Rob NinkovichNE225176.2
66 Jermaine CunninghamNE189156.3

Turn the page for the guys rushing from interior positions like J.J. Watt and more

  • Shaun

    I made mention of this on another post, but I really think you guys should re-configure your formula to factor in drawn offensive holding calls, in all honesty false starts could probably be factored in, but that would be way too subjective.
    By the way what happened to the Giants? No mention of Osi and JPP and Tuck falls in that end of the list…

    • lightsout85

      I’d like to know how much JPP’s being moved to the inside on some downs affects his numbers. Yea, it’s done because it’s supposed to be an athletic mis-match, but the nature of rushing inside leads to less pressure. It may be a lot to ask for, since the PRP area of the signature stats is so detailed already (broken down into left & right….though not for 4-3 OLB..and I’d like to know Von Miller’s 😀 ), but it would be cool to get an inside/outside breakdown too (3-4 DE counting as outside if in 5-tech & no one rushed outside of them). To account for edge rushers who sometimes rush from a DT-like alignment.

      ALSO – last season (for 2 ago?) you had an article on 3rd/4th down pass-rushing & it would REALLY be cool to see that incorporated into the available stats. Maybe make it 3rd/4th & long to keep it strictly “obvious passing, ears pinned back” rushing, or perhaps &-short passing situations would be rare & not affect it much. I remember Tuck ranking well, which I thought showed that when he wasn’t focused on possible runs, he was a really good rusher. It took away the advantage of guys who play every down as if it’s a pass (so when it is, they get lucky & don’t have to pause & read like a “complete” player). Combine this + the inside/outside thing (giving the guys who would be mostly inside on 3rd/4th a fair comparison), and my mind would be blown.

      • Neil

        Of the 344 times JPP has rushed the passer only 40 have been from an interior position with his hand on the ground.

        • lightsout85

          Ah, thanks! I guess it’s more of a fun thing to theorize than it is something that’s put into practice a lot (and that the answer would be “no” it probably doesn’t affect his pass-rushing much. Either he plays the run so well he has a pass-rush-pause, or he’s just a mediocre pass-rusher (3rd/4th down numbers would be nice to eliminate that variable 😀 ))

  • lightsout85

    Though Watt’s 10 batted passes give in the edge in overall pass-disrupting ;). If I may nit-pick, grades do account for all those things you mention, but they don’t allow for cross-comparison (DE to OLB, and 3-4 DE to DT, etc). Granted, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that with PRP either (if the #s are very close, if they’re far, it’s probably ok), because it’s different rushing from different positions/alignments (someone who can rush well standing up, might not do so in a 3-point stance, and vice versa). Hell, we (the readers) don’t even know which LBs are rushing primarily standing up or in the dirt, so you can’t compare (100% fair) all of them either. But, it’s just a thought.

  • Dave

    Jared Odrick has more pass rush snaps than Cameron Wake? Really?

    • JJ

      That’s what it says chief.

    • corners

      probably because Wake comes out when the game is over

  • RobDX

    I’m ok with Wilfork being at the bottom. Why? Because his job isn’t to rush. I see him constantly getting doubled, thus freeing up others.

    • osoviejo

      Wilfork isn’t at the bottom.

      • lightsout85

        69/88 is pretty much “bottom”. He’s highest of the worst people, not a good title.

        • RobDX

          that is the thing, pass rushing isn’t his job

          • lightsout85

            I know…I was replying to the poster who I believe was being picky and calling out your use of “bottom” (as Wilfork was at the physical bottom of the list, but it was listed worst-ranked first. So he wasn’t RANKED bottom).

  • Bill

    Does PRP account for holding penalties drawn?

  • lightsout85

    Looks like it’s the year for left (outside) rushers, only 2 of the top 10 being primary right-side rushers. (Well, Von’s listed as SLB, but sig. stats don’t have a side-breakdown for PRP of 4-3 OLB, so I don’t know where he lines up in nickel/dime packages).

  • izach

    does drawing the double team count towards grades? if teams do double a demarcus ware, or jjwatt, but his team mates cant pull their own wieght doesnt make all their scores lower. i mean is a unblocked sack and a sack after a double team and a RB chip wiegh the same in grading?

  • Max_vain

    Excellent Info, is there a complete list?