FanPost

Reasons not to draft a NT at #12

There have been a lot of posts recently expressing the need for a NT.  Whether it’s Dan Williams or Mt. Cody, a lot of fans of the Phinsider seem to want the Front Office to address this need, especially with the first round pick at #12.  As many of you know, I have been advocating against this, instead wanting to go offense at #12 (specifically CJ Spiller).  I won’t go into the many reasons why I want to go offense, El Presidente 00 does a good job explaining the reasons in his post “Why CJ Spiller is the Solution” (http://www.thephinsider.com/2010/3/12/1370738/why-cj-spiller-is-the-solution), but I will get into why drafting a NT at #12 would be a mistake.

 

Here is a chart of some of the NT’s in the NFL.  In compiling this chart, I focused on the Top 15 Ranked Defenses in the NFL in ’09.  I left off all of those defenses in the Top 15 that don’t run a 3-4 defense but included the Phins NT’s for sake of argument. 

 

 

 

TEAM

TOTAL D

RUSH D

NT

DRAFT RD

T-A-S

% SNAPS

RUSH RANK

PASS RANK

NYJ

1

8

SIONE POUHA

3 (88)

40-4-0

44.8%

24.2

-6.2

 

 

 

KRIS JENKINS

2 (44)

10-2-0

58.7%

4.4

-1.2

GB

2

1

RYAN PICKETT

1 (29)

25-4-0

40.8%

3.0

-2.5

 

 

 

BJ RAJI

1 (9)

18-3-1

40.4%

1.9

-5.7

BAL

3

5

KELLY GREGG

6 (173)

41-9-3

44.2%

18.5

0.2

PIT

5

3

CASEY HAMPTON

1 (19)

25-6-3

57.3%

7.3

-9.5

DEN

7

26

RONALD FIELDS

5 (137)

26-9-0

51.7%

1.2

-8.1

DAL

9

4

JAY RATLIFF

7 (224)

26-7-7

72.1%

13.2

-0.1

NE

11

12

VINCE WILFORK

1 (21)

45-7-0

64.7%

14.1

-2.5

SF

15

6

AUBRAYO FRANKLIN

5 (146)

35-5-2

56.0%

12.2

-8.6

MIA

22

18

JASON FERGUSON

7 (229)

18-3-0

49.0%

2.5

0.6

 

 

 

PAUL SOLIAI

4 (108)

27-0-0

42.0%

3.0

-5.0

 

The T-A-S (tackles-assists-sacks), % Snaps, Rush Rank, & Pass Rank stats came from www.profootballfocus.com (thanks for the heads up on this site Vanman!).  Here is a link to how they establish a “grade” for a particular player:   http://profootballfocus.com/about.php?tab=about.  Needless to say it is a little convoluted, but basically each player is graded per play on a +2.0 to a -2.0 scale with 0 being average.

 

NT’s Are Ineffective At Rushing The QB

 

One of the big reasons stated for drafting a NT is to get “push” up the middle when rushing a QB.  As the chart shows, the NT’s listed above simply don’t rush the passer well.  Only 3 of the NT’s listed graded out as “average” by Profootballfocus.com.  All others are ranked “below average”.  When grading the Pass Rank, the site takes into effect sacks, QB hits, and QB pressures and none of the NT’s graded very well at all.  How many on this site have wanted a NT to pressure the QB like Wilfork or Jenkins?  Yet, both of those players are considered below average when rushing the passer.

 

But as you noticed, all NT’s ranked above average in Rush Rank.  The likes of Pouha, Gregg, Ratliff, Wilfork, and Franklin are outstanding run defenders.  Also notice that Ferguson is the best ranked pass rusher but is ranked slightly behind Soliai when it comes to defending the run.  (How many of you are surprised by Soliai ranking ahead of Fergie when it comes to defending the run?)

 

NT’s Are Part Time Players

Another interesting stat shown in the chart is the % of snaps played.  Most NT’s in the chart play between 40% - 60% of the snaps.  Only two played more than 60% of the snaps available, Wilfork (64%) and Ratliff (72%).  The reason why these players are playing a small % of snaps points to the Pass Rank category above.  NT’s don’t rush the passer, so they are not on the field on passing downs.  If you delve into the % of snaps played by NT’s in 2nd & Long or 3rd & Long situations, the % of snaps falls dramatically.

 

Drafting NT’s In The 1st Round Are Not Sure Things

 

There are 4 NT’s on the list taken in the 1st round (Pickett, Raji, Hampton, Wilfork).  None of them are elite pass rushers (in fact Hampton is the worst pass rusher on the list).  Only one, Wilfork, would be considered an elite run stopper.  I would make the argument that the best all around NT’s on the list are Gregg and Ratliff and they were drafted in the 6th and 7th round respectively.  Not only are they excellent at stopping the run, they are average at rushing the passer, which grades out much higher than the other NT’s on the list.  (As an aside, Fergie and Ratliff were both drafted by Parcells and both in the 7th round).

 

In conclusion, the Phins are going to make a big investment in the #12 pick.  Last year the #12 pick, Knowshon Moreno, got a contract worth $23 million over 5 yrs with $13 million guaranteed.  If I was going to pay that much for a defensive player, I would want that guy to be a multi-dimensional player (not just a run stopper) and be on the field more than 60% of the time.  If the Phins must go defense, go after an OLB.  Get a player like one of these guys who not only stop the run (except for Dumervil), but rush the passer as well.

 

TEAM

TOTAL D

RUSH D

RUSH OLB

T-A-S

% SNAPS

RUSH RANK

PASS RANK

NYJ

1

8

CALVIN PACE

40-7-9

96.8%

10.8

4.9

GB

2

1

CLAY MATTHEWS

30-9-11

85.0%

10.5

8.8

PIT

5

3

LAMARR WOODLEY

39-16-14

99.7%

10.1

25.6

DEN

7

26

ELVIS DUMERVIL

23-6-17

83.7%

-12.1

21.2

DAL

9

4

DEMARCUS WARE

39-13-15

92.6%

9.9

27.8

NE

11

12

TULLA BANTA CAIN

37-6-10

68.5%

11.1

14.9

 

Why be a Lefty  when you can be Right!  =)

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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