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Pro Football Focus Compares Rookie Edge Rushers

The statistics website Pro Football Focus posted an article yesterday using their data to compare the rookie seasons of the five edge rushers selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

That list, obviously, includes outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, the 17th overall draft selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Also included are Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (3rd), Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (5th), Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (6th), and Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Bjoern Werner (24th).

Of the five members of this class, Jones logged the second-most snaps, edged out only slightly by Mingo. He played more than twice the snaps of Jordan and Werner.

However, he did play the highest percentage of his team’s snaps. He also spent, by far, the most time in coverage.

According to PFF, that wasn’t particularly to his favor. In his 102 coverage snaps, he missed three tackles, or exactly half of his season total, which is in only about one-sixth of his total snaps on the year.

Jones also struggled as a pass rusher, though that of course is no secret. His pass rushing productivity of 6.9 was better only than Werner’s 6.6, while Jordan paced the class with a rating of 9.2.

Ansah led with 32 total pressures, while Jones was third with 28. However, just three of those pressures were either sacks (1) or hits (2).

Jordan was the most efficient pass rusher of the first-round class, though even he only had two sacks. Even Werner finished with three sacks. Ansah finished the year with a very respectable nine sacks in his rookie campaign.

Ansah also finished the year as the best of the class in run support, but Jones was the only other one of the five to finish with a positive grade. In fact, outside of a midseason lull in his play against the run, he had a pretty strong season in that respect.

In fact, Jones ranked in the top 10 at the position during the season in tackling efficiency against the run—using PFF’s data—registering 18 tackles and five assists against the run versus two missed tackles in 214 snaps.

Interestingly, Jones actually rushed the passer less often on passing downs than Jason Worilds did. Worilds rushed on nearly 80 percent of his passing snaps, while Jones finished just a touch over 75 percent. Yet both figures are on the high side for Steelers outside linebackers.

While the data is interesting to look at, of course, it’s certainly a far cry from an authoritative draft grade. Jones clearly has work to do as he enters his second year expected to be a full-time starter, after flirting with the idea early on as a rookie—as it turns out, probably earlier than should have been the case. He finished off the year strong, so hopefully that will be a sign of things to come.

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