Critiquing the B/R NFL 1000 Project: DTs and 4-3 DEs

Bloggers, media and sport fans used to heap scorn on Bleacher Report, mainly due to some questionable user-generated content that damaged the site’s reputation in its infancy. However, since their big money deal with Turner 18 months ago, they’ve added some talented and respected names as featured writers and a great deal of their content is now well worth checking out.

One of the featured writers they added to their roster was draft scouting guru and former TJB Podcast guest Matt Miller, who – along with several other film junkies – is spearheading the B/R NFL 1000 project, where they attempt to rank the NFL’s top 1,000 players. The project is now into its third year and they’ve just started releasing this year’s results. For more on how the project works go here.

In our seventh installment, we look at their rankings for defensive tackles and 4-3 defensive ends. To look back at the previous updates go here, here, here, here, here and here.

In terms of defensive tackles, they rank Damon Harrison 12th. Kenrick Ellis is unranked. There are no Jets ranked in the 4-3 defensive ends list, presumably on the basis that the Jets are thought of as a 3-4 team.

Here’s what they said about Harrison:

“Big Snacks” might always be limited to base and run-stopping defensive packages due to his lack of ability as a pass defender, but his ability to stop the run makes him an ideal fit as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive front.

Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

While there was much consternation over Muhammad Wilkerson only being ranked as the ninth best 3-4 defense end, omitting Kenrick Ellis from their defensive tackle list altogether might be an even bigger oversight. Maybe they just didn’t consider him at all because he didn’t play enough snaps, but Ellis was ranked as PFF’s 5th best run stopping defender (and 17th overall) even despite his low snap count. He ended up with their best overall ranking on a per-snap basis and was number one in the NFL for run stop percentage among all defensive tackles with a 25% or higher run snap count.

There’s plenty of griping in the comments about the omission of Vince Wilfork and Kyle Williams from this list, but Wilfork only played three full games and Williams was already included in the 3-4 defensive ends list. That’s not the case with Ellis, though, as he finds himself snubbed from a list that includes a bunch of clearly inferior performers.

In a similar vein, it’s interesting to note the omission of Quinton Coples from the 4-3 defensive ends list. One would assume he’ll appear on the list for 3-4 outside linebackers instead, but – despite the fact that’s what he’s listed as on the Jets’ official depth chart – he actually had his hand in the dirt on the edge of a four-man line on 58% of his snaps last year. Therefore, we should probably re-visit the 4-3 DE list once he gets his final score to get a more suitable comparison.

Harrison ends up in 12th because, as you’d expect, he scores really well (a perfect 50/50!) for run defense, but not so well as a pass defender. In fact, they’re perhaps overly critical here, saying that Harrison “rarely goes forward off the snap, and when he does, he exhibits poor balance.”

The big issue here is the ridiculous contradiction in their rationalization for Muhammad Wilkerson’s production (“the emergence of other stars on the New York Jets defensive line helped him put up great numbers in 2013″) and their rankings for Harrison, who they acknowledge “is typically removed from the game in situations in which the opposing offense is expected to throw, and that’s because he makes minimal impact as a pass-rusher.” Wilkerson’s tackle numbers actually went down in 2013, despite an increase in play, so Miller and his colleagues must be attributing his increased production as a pass rusher to his teammates…who then go on to score poorly as pass defenders which doesn’t make any sense. That’s unless the likes of Coples and Calvin Pace will score higher than we expect. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that, though.

Oh, and by they way, it’s “Snacks”, not “Big Snacks”.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on this project over the offseason.




62 comments
kniff
kniff

Our front seven is actually one of the best in the business, and a area of relative content among us fans...


Mostly hoping for a spark at OLB at draft time... a pass rush monster to take advantage of all the movements and intricacies that this group is still very much capable of...

williamg1
williamg1

Mehta would like to remind you that Goodson is Idzik's very first signing, and he's maybe facing a 2nd suspension. 

But he didn't mention that as a dig at the FO -- he was just posting random comments. Or something like that. 

a57se
a57se

Ellis is overlooked by Jets fans as well........no surprise there.

I thought Snacks did a pretty decent job when pass rushing, he just didn't get many opportunities. When you consider he was an UDFA in 2012 he has made amazing progress.

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

I'm going to print out the entire report, I need a little kindling for my fireplace.

Wilkershakes
Wilkershakes

In case of PFF's ranking of Ellis, don't they grade on a per play basis?  If that's true, then low snap counts should be a factor for exclusion.  

Marvel
Marvel

Manish is confusing me..


was Goodson suspended?  or nah?


williamg1
williamg1

@kniff  that front may be able to make average CBs look great. I wish we could get Khalil Mack. 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1  *First relevant. 


He had to change his snark when it was pointed out to him that Idzik signed someone else first. 

Wilkershakes
Wilkershakes

@williamg1 Manish sucks...that said, it is noteworthy to include on that report. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Wilkershakes  


Not sure exactly what you mean but hopefully this will answer it.


They do grade every play, but their final grades are cumulative.  Therefore Ellis being so high (5th against the run, 17th overall) despite a low snap count is impressive.


Taking that a step further if you divide the overall grade by snaps to get a grade on a per-play basis, Ellis is #1.

Brendan
Brendan

@Marvel  What are you looking at that doofus' tweets for? He's been on a week-long Jet-bashing bender. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Marvel  He's referring to the previous suspension and saying there could be another under the personal conduct policy.

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1  Its funny, but I no longer get upset with Manish's tweets. I actually find them to be quite humorous -- if only because they are so inane. Its almost like some sort of art project. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@williamg1 @a57se  


I'm looking forward to doing the TJ Barnes BGA soon.  If he's promising too then it becomes even more amazing.


The fact Mo usually plays nose on third downs means that the other team's center has a constant nightmare on his hands!

a57se
a57se

@williamg1 @a57se 

Yup and TJ Barnes from our practice squad is bigger than Snacks and Ellis!

GratefulJet
GratefulJet

@Bent I always wondered about that, but doesn't that cause a problem when trying to compare part time players productivity ?


I'm surprised they don't publish a grade per snap (looking at what you did) or some similar type of part time metric as well.


For example, what's Vicks score relative to Geno's overall last year, and then how do they compare when you take out the time Vick missed ?  How would you do that with PFF ratings.

Wilkershakes
Wilkershakes

@Bent @Wilkershakes That is what I meant.  If they graded on a per-play basis, but the player only was in for 25% of the snaps doesn't have the same impact.  


That is amazing to see about Ellis' ranking then.

madbacker
madbacker

@Brendan when is Mehta not? Listening to any of his comments go a long way to clouding the matter that Idzik is focusing on bringing in solid depth which we have been lack for several years. And by solid i mean, guys who in theory work well with the systems in place/have talent/ are fairly priced/aren't drama queens and most importantly could be contributors in roles.


While I am not 100% behind what Idzik has done this offseason, only beatwriters who need viewership lose sight that depth is key to winning all season long.

madbacker
madbacker

@Bent would you argue that the teams "Base" formation is a 4-3 or a 3-4? Holding out the situational formations we utilize in a game. The NFL lists the Jets as a 3-4 team, and we all know that we are truely a multiple front team and utilize a lot of 52/46 aspects. In your overall opinion which way do you view the team?




Brendan
Brendan

@kniff I'm honestly open to anything in this first round. Except interior DL. I think the team has that covered for a while. 

kniff
kniff

@Brendan @kniff  Its all good, I know you dig that guy, and wouldn't mind a bit trading up and landing em'!!!

Bradysucks however, might croke if we don't pick Offence with our #1 lol...

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 Yeah I stopped getting made when I see them. It's always nice when you click on the tweet and it expands and you see like 30 "Shut the F up, Manish" responses. It's like the entire Twitterverse knows he's full of it. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Bent @williamg1 @a57se  Man, 6'7'' and 360 lbs. That's huge. 

Do you remember back in the day when the Jets signed William Collier? Back then he was considered huge, and I bet he wasn't much over 300 lbs. These guys are getting bigger and bigger. 

a57se
a57se

@Bent @williamg1@a57se 

Yeah.....Barnes is 6'7" tall and 364 pounds....that is just ridiculous!

Ellis is 6'4" tall and 346 pounds while Snacks is 6'4" tall and 350 pounds......that is 1060 pounds of NT!!!!

No wonder Mangold is getting OLD before his time.......

Bent
Bent moderator

@GratefulJet  No, but they do have rankings for pass rushing productivity which weights total pressure against pass rush reps.

GratefulJet
GratefulJet

You would think that would be a fairly well referenced list, not something you'd have to figure out manually.  Like, you can't go somewhere and find the top 20 Pass Rushers per snap in the NFL ?

Bent
Bent moderator

@GratefulJet @Bent  


It's not hard to just do the grade / snaps calculation based on their data.  


Geno was really negative though, so his grades would fall well below Vick on either basis.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold  Was this directed at me? (You addressed it to Bent). 


I would've signed one of the top CB's, would have signed James Jones as #2 WR insurance and looked at other OLB options. 

harold
harold

@Bent

What are three of the moves you think we should have made but did not? 

Brendan
Brendan

@madbacker @Disgruntled Jets Fan Ha. He's obviously always terrible, but he's been especially bad this week. Not even trying to be snarky, just flat-out blatant trolling and misleading tweets. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@williamg1 @Bent @madbacker  


One of the more popular looks (and one they often open with) is the 4-3 under.  I guess they're referring to that but noting that one DE might play with his hand up.

Bent
Bent moderator

@madbacker @Bent


I'd call it a hybrid capable of either set being the base on any given Sunday.


Personnel-wise, it's more like a 4-3, but they do call it a 3-4 on team literature.