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AlNFL19

Edge Rusher Class Statistical Projections

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Posted (edited)

Back by no popular demand whatsoever, here's my latest set of projections by position. Edge rusher is one of the positions that started off the tilt towards analytics in the NFL, and it's one that this forum has some interesting history regarding (give Waldo's 2011 work on the subject a read if you never have: http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=439601&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0). The model takes into account several different factors and accordingly projects an average Approximate Value during the player's third and fourth NFL seasons. The model is built *on and for* prospects drafted in the first three rounds of the draft, using data from the 2006 to 2015 draft classes. It also projects a Bust Chance (% chance of failing to reach 5 AV) and Pro Bowl chance (chance of hitting or exceeding 10 AV), as well as a stat line based on the projected AV. 

The model includes:

  • Draft Position
  • Volume Statistics (ex.: total tackles)
  • Efficiency Statistics (ex.: tackles per team attempt against)
  • NFL Combine Performance and Measurables
  • Speed Score
  • Waldo Formulas (some of them, anyways)

For some context, here's what the projections here will look like, using the best projection since 2006 as an example:

KHALIL MACK, OLB, BUFFALO

K. Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 5.79
Bust Chance 5.16%
PB Chance 43.91%

Projected Stat Line: 37 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks

 

This year's rankings break away from convention, certainly, starting with the No. 1:

 

1. MONTEZ SWEAT, DE, MISSISSIPPI STATE

M. Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 5.38
Bust Chance 23.32%
PB Chance 31.89%

Projected Stat Line: 35 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks

Sweat's projection is pretty high, falling right between that of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Sweat was pretty productive, though he had zero passes defensed in his 2018 campaign, and put up good numbers at the combine: 35.75" arms, a 7-second 3-cone, and of course his 4.41 40 yard dash at 260 pounds. That insane athleticism is the main reason for Sweat's high projection.

2. RASHAN GARY, OLB, MICHIGAN

R. Gary, OLB, Michigan
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 5.33
Bust Chance 25.54%
PB Chance 30.42%

Projected Stat Line: 35 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks

Gary was a freak athlete who put up mediocre production that was improved in terms of efficiency by Michigan's relatively low opposing passing rate (about 25 passes per game). With a 38" vertical at 277 pounds, Gary put up the class' best Explosive Power rating (see the Waldo thread up top from the old forums). With this projection and his youth, Gary offers far and away the highest upside among the new edge rushers the Packers acquired this offseason.

3. BEN BANOGU, OLB, TCU

B. Banogu, OLB, TCU
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 5.21
Bust Chance 30.85%
PB Chance 26.90%

Projected Stat Line: 35 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks

This ranking should be pretty surprising. Banogu gets here mostly on account of his athletic scores from the Combine. a 40" vertical, 134" broad, and 4.62 40 put him among the class leaders, which was good enough to get him a projection around Vic Beasley's. A word of warning, though: players with high projections obviously aren't perfect - see that 30.85% chance to bust. Banogu's projection is similar to that of Dontay Moch, who former readers of Waldo will know became a bust despite good signs from analytics. There is something to be said that "the Combine is stupid and none of its tests mean anything," but for the edge rusher position, athletic testing is actually fairly important, and can be valuable information that has a historical correlation with success in the NFL. Banogu benefits from that, and Colts fans should hope that will come through.

4. BRIAN BURNS, DE, FLORIDA STATE

B. Burns, DE, Florida State
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 5.11
Bust Chance 35.28%
PB Chance 23.96%

Projected Stat Line: 34 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks

Burns was fairly productive and tested pretty well, giving him a solid projection. His efficiency statistics were knocked by Florida State's opponents dropping back 37 times per game (potentially driving up his sacks-per-game rate), but it's a testament to his skills that he was able to overcome that in projection. Burns also put up good numbers in the 40 and the jump tests relative to his size, which is a good statistical indicator of success.

5. JOSH ALLEN, OLB, KENTUCKY

J. Allen, OLB, Kentucky
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.85
Bust Chance 46.80%
PB Chance 16.34%

Projected Stat Line: 33 tackles, 6 TFLs, 5 sacks

Allen is the first player on the list to not hit the 5.0 threshold, but he still has a better-than-even chance of success, albeit by just a little. Allen put up pretty decent testing numbers and great on-field stats, including 88 tackles in his final season at Kentucky.

6. NICK BOSA, DE, OHIO STATE

N. Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.71
Bust Chance 53.00%
PB Chance 12.23%

Projected Stat Line: 33 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks

Obviously, and I'll be the first to admit it, this projection is underselling Bosa. His volume statistics are hurt by the fact that he got hurt, and by the fact that he never really piled up stats anyways (ex.: only 34 tackles his penultimate season at OSU). Furthermore, Bosa tested well, but none of his numbers jumped off the page. For that reason, a lot of analysts said that Bosa had somewhat of a lower ceiling as a safe pass rusher who lacks the elite athleticism to be truly great. Well, it looks like the numbers here back up that idea, but taking it to a new extreme. I wouldn't be surprised if Bosa outperformed this projection, as it's already flawed in some ways by his obviously subpar on-field statistics that stemmed from injury, not lack of talent.

7. L.J. COLLIER, DE, TCU

L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.58
Bust Chance 58.76%
PB Chance 8.42%

Projected Stat Line: 32 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks

I don't know how many other people thought this, but I was pretty surprised when the Seahawks took L.J. Collier at the back end of the first round (as I was last year with their selection of Rashaad Penny). Well, my model is backing me up on that, pegging Collier as a second-round talent. Collier didn't have great production or athletic testing, and to be frank his 3-cone and short shuttle were pretty dreadful. That ends up giving Collier a projection with a few ticks less than a coin-flip chance of NFL success.

8. ZACH ALLEN, DE, BOSTON COLLEGE

Z. Allen, DE, Boston College
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.54
Bust Chance 60.53%
PB Chance 7.25%

Projected Stat Line: 32 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks

Allen isn't an elite athlete for the position, but he put up pretty good numbers at Boston College, like notching a class-best 7 passes defensed in 2018 (see Football Outsiders for an explanation on why passes defensed correlate well with edge rusher success, I don't remember it off the top of my head). However, he was the slowest of the group at 5.0 in the 40-yard dash, and all things said he wasn't able to overcome his third round draft position.

9. CHASE WINOVICH, DE, MICHIGAN

C. Winovich, DE, Michigan
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.52
Bust Chance 61.42%
PB Chance 6.66%

Projected Stat Line: 32 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks

Winovich, despite being Michigan's "other" pass rusher, put up better on-field statistics than Gary, and Winovich isn't a bad athlete himself, running a 4.59 40-yard dash and even recording a crazy 6.94 3-cone time. However, his 30.5" vertical jump will raise some questions about his explosiveness, and the model sees him developing into likely a role player or a bust, not much more.

10. JAYLON FERGUSON, DE, LOUISIANA TECH

J. Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.28
Bust Chance 72.05%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 31 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks

If any player in this class is a handful to evaluate, it might be Ferguson. Ferguson was the FBS' all-time sack leader by the end of the Hawaii Bowl, but he wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine as a result of off-field issues. In addition, the workout Ferguson did do at his Pro Day raised some major red flags. Ferguson's 3-cone drill came it at a whopping 8.08, and his short shuttle was above 5 seconds. Both are rare feats, but not in a good way. As a result, Ferguson has little potential, according to the model, to repeat his CFB production in the NFL.

11. OSHANE XIMINES, DE, OLD DOMINION

O. Ximines, DE, Old Dominion
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.25
Bust Chance 73.37%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 31 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks

Ximines isn't a player there's much to say about here. He was good-but-not-great in basically everything - athletic testing, on-field drills, you name it. Combine that with a back-of-the-third draft position, and you have a not-so-good projection.

12. CLELIN FERRELL, DE, CLEMSON

C. Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.05
Bust Chance 82.23%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 30 tackles, 5 TFLs, 4 sacks

Memo to the Raiders' front office: if your fourth-overall draft pick is rated this low, you may have made a bit of a mistake. Ferrell was a surprise on draft day, and there's a big, big reason why my model doesn't like him nearly as much as the Raiders did: he barely did any athletic testing. Sure, it's not an end-all-be-all, but athletic testing is relatively important for the edge rusher position, and I couldn't even find a 40 yard dash time for Ferrell. That's a red flag. I found a 40 time for every R1-3 edge rusher from 2006 to 2018, but not for Ferrell. Does that say anything good? No. Match that with only decent production on the field, and Ferrell's projection is bound to be conservative to put it kindly, and bad to put it bluntly.

13. JACHAI POLITE, OLB, FLORIDA

J. Polite, OLB, Florida
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.86
Bust Chance 90.65%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 30 tackles, 5 TFLs, 4 sacks

Well, we all know what happened to Polite. The Combine. His on-field stats were pretty good, but that combine. Oh dear. 4.84 in the 40, 7.59 in the 3 cone, and all that for a player who supposedly was pretty athletic. He didn't show it at the Combine, or at his Pro Day, where he got slower. That's definitely a red flag.

Well, that's a wrap. Thanks for checking it out.

Edited by AlNFL19
I forgot Josh Allen somehow

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I would love to see Sutton Smith on this.  His combine numbers are about the same or better than Winovich ( in all but 40).  I think he will have little to no impact this season but give a season to put on weight and muscle he could be decent.

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2 hours ago, jebrick said:

I would love to see Sutton Smith on this.  His combine numbers are about the same or better than Winovich ( in all but 40).  I think he will have little to no impact this season but give a season to put on weight and muscle he could be decent.

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner - here's Smith's projection, although it should be taken with a grain of salt because as a sixth round pick, the model isn't built for him.

S. Smith, DE, Northern Illinois
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.6
Bust Chance >99.9%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 29 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3 sacks

His on-field production was pretty good, but his Combine wasn't really very impressive. For example, a 4.69 40 is pretty good for an edge rusher, but at 233 pounds, far and away the lightest of the above group, it's significantly less impressive. So you're right - if he puts on some weight and is able to retain some athleticism, he could be pretty good, but as a sixth-round pick his projection is obviously bleak (though his projected AV would put him right around a third round grade).

 

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Thanks.  A 6th round choice can't really bust :-) but his AV is not bad.  I have high hopes

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On 8/6/2019 at 12:35 PM, AlNFL19 said:

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner - here's Smith's projection, although it should be taken with a grain of salt because as a sixth round pick, the model isn't built for him.

 

S. Smith, DE, Northern Illinois
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.6
Bust Chance >99.9%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 29 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3 sacks

His on-field production was pretty good, but his Combine wasn't really very impressive. For example, a 4.69 40 is pretty good for an edge rusher, but at 233 pounds, far and away the lightest of the above group, it's significantly less impressive. So you're right - if he puts on some weight and is able to retain some athleticism, he could be pretty good, but as a sixth-round pick his projection is obviously bleak (though his projected AV would put him right around a third round grade).

 

If we're doing requests, how about D'Andre Walker?  I've seen wildly inconsistent reviews of him as a player.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Daniel said:

If we're doing requests, how about D'Andre Walker?  I've seen wildly inconsistent reviews of him as a player.

Again, keep in mind to take this with a big grain of salt because the model is not built on or for late-round draft picks. As a result, it might slightly inflate their projections because draft position is only one variable.

D. Walker, OLB, Georgia
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.47
Bust Chance >99.9%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 28 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3 sacks

For a fifth-round pick, this would be a good projection, but it's obviously going to be even less accurate than the ones above because the model isn't supposed to work that way.

Also take the bust chance with a grain of salt because, for a fifth-rounder, 3 or 4 AV is fine sometimes.

Edited by AlNFL19

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41 minutes ago, AlNFL19 said:

Again, keep in mind to take this with a big grain of salt because the model is not built on or for late-round draft picks. As a result, it might slightly inflate their projections because draft position is only one variable.

D. Walker, OLB, Georgia
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.47
Bust Chance >99.9%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 28 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3 sacks

For a fifth-round pick, this would be a good projection, but it's obviously going to be even less accurate than the ones above because the model isn't supposed to work that way.

Also take the bust chance with a grain of salt because, for a fifth-rounder, 3 or 4 AV is fine sometimes.

Of course, grain of salt.  I would be psyched if we got three sacks out of a fifth round rookie.

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Overall, AINFL has been really good with his projections for rookie season. Jachai Polite and Clelin Ferrell both have undercut their consensus projections. Josh Allen and Nick Bosa are both having really good seasons. Josh Allen isn't a starter but he has 7 sacks in 8 games. Nick Bosa also has 7 sacks so far. 

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I can't wait to see how this model portrays Chase Young... 

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On 10/28/2019 at 11:08 AM, Raves said:

I can't wait to see how this model portrays Chase Young... 

I hope I’ll get around to it this year. Might try some new stuff. We’ll see. 

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