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Signature Stats: Pass Rushing Productivity

2013-WK04-PRPFour weeks into the season and that means we’ve got enough of a sample size that we can start sharing some of the exclusive PFF Premium Signature Stats with you all. That’s right, we collect our own data and that massive amount of unique information allows us to present information to you like our Pass Rushing Productivity.

The very first PFF Sig Stat, it is a number that tells you who got the most pressure relative to the opportunities they had to get it. It goes beyond using the sack as the be all and end all when it comes to judging the effectiveness of a pass rusher, measuring their total pressure (sacks weighted more heavily than hits or hurries) against how often they rushed the passer.

For the mathematically inclined it’s:

Sacks + (0.75 x Hits) + (0.75 x Hurries)/ Pass Rushing Snaps x 100 = PRP

You know the drill by now. So let’s get to the numbers, shall we?

(Minimum 75 snaps rushing passer to qualify).

Edge Rushers 

I’m not going to comment on the off-the-field problems of Aldon Smith (except to hope he can overcome the challenges he faces), but on the field he was delivering the goods the first three weeks of the season. On 84 pass-rushing snaps he picked up 17 quarterback disruptions, good enough to finish the best of all edge rushers. When he’s ready to come back it’s a big boost to a 49ers pass rush that suddenly looks a little thin at the spot.

In second spot it may surprise some people (not myself) to see the name of Michael Bennett. Stories have come out in recent days about how Bennett had his market devalued for him, and it remains a shock (and disappointing) that no team would give him a bigger, more secure deal than the one he got. He certainly earned it in Tampa Bay and he’s delivering the goods in Seattle just as readily. Moving about the line, he’s picking up more pressure than any 4-3 defensive end and thriving.

In terms of rookies, Dion Jordan would lead the way if he’d rushed the passer more than 57 times in his situational role. Instead it’s Ezekiel Ansah who tops the rookie list from the 35th spot overall. His all-around play has been impressive, but he’s got a ways to go to turn that 9.2 PRP rating into something that challenges the Top 15.

Meanwhile, at the other end of things a couple of sophomore’s aren’t engaging in slumps (they didn’t do much as rookies), but are failing to take their game to the next level. Shea McClellin has just five combined sacks, hits, and hurries on 107 pass rushes which is the lowest Pass Rushing Productivity score (3.8) of any edge rusher. That is marginally better than the 3.8 of Nick Perry who has got to do more to help out Clay Matthews.

Here are the Top 15 edge rushers through Week 4:

RankNameTeamPass Rush SnapsTotal PressurePRP
1 Aldon SmithSF831716.9
2 Michael BennettSEA992015.9
3 Tamba HaliKC1422915.8
4 Charles JohnsonCAR911815.4
5 DeMarcus WareDAL1272314.4
6 Cameron WakeMIA891614.3
7 Robert QuinnSL1212114.0
8 Terrell SuggsBLT1121913.6
9 Elvis DumervilBLT881513.4
9 Robert MathisIND1141813.4
11 Brian OrakpoWAS1141913.2
11 Justin HoustonKC1211913.2
13 Junior GaletteNO1051712.9
14 Dwight FreeneySD1131912.8
15 Willie YoungDET1302112.3


Interior Defenders

But it’s not just the edge rushers that we’re looking at here. What about the guys working in the interior of the line? Well, to the surprise of nobody, J.J. Watt currently leads the way with a score that is so good it would rank him fifth overall after turning 126 pass rushes into 23 quarterback disruptions. Matching that number of disruptions is Cameron Jordan, though, by virtue of needing more snaps to do it, he’s behind the Texans' end.

Those two lead the way with Ndamukong Suh following in third spot as he puts together his best start to a season. None of those names may be terribly surprising, but it somewhat shocking to see Jurrell Casey in sixth spot. He’s already got more quarterback disruptions than he managed in the whole of 2012.

The top interior defenders:

RankNameTeamPass Rush SnapsTotal PressurePRP
1 J.J. WattHST1262314.5
2 Cameron JordanNO1342313.6
3 Ndamukong SuhDET1602813.4
4 Antonio D. SmithHST871211.5
5 Justin SmithSF1151610.7
5 Jurrell CaseyTEN1261710.7
7 Jason HatcherDAL1301710.4
8 Marcell DareusBUF1041310.1
9 Cory ReddingIND97129.8
10 Malik JacksonDEN86119.6
11 Barry CofieldWAS126159.3
12 Gerald McCoyTB160199.2
13 Geno AtkinsCIN137158.8
13 Kyle D. WilliamsBUF147178.8
15 Randy StarksMIA115128.3
15 Ray McDonaldSF120138.3
15 Jared OdrickMIA139158.3

We champion the Signature Stat as the best statistic out there in terms of evaluating pass rushing. But it is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for how quickly the pressure came, if it was unblocked, or whether it was in garbage time, for example. It’s why some intelligence needs to be applied here, and fortunately that’s what we’ve done via our grading which will always trump any statistic anywhere out there.

Of course you can get both the full list of Pass Rushing Productivity numbers (as well as all our other Signature Stats) and all our grades for every player with a PFF Premium package for $26.99, giving you 365 days worth of access.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

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