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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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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • 804Stiller

    Hopefully, JJ gets stronger this off-season and stays focused. I’m not as down on him as many others. I think he was thrown in the fire and that will help him out this year. Most OLBs don’t get much run early in our defense. And, he seemed to settle down as the season progressed. The glimpses of explosiveness he showed are promising to get back to the old flying around, gang tackling defense we are all use to.

  • srdan

    We had the bar set too high for this guy. He didn’t meet it, and is immediatly labeled as a bust.
    Give this guy time, he is going to be a monster. Playmaking is something you have or don’t, he does.

  • 243546

    Interesting to see the results on Jordan. Everyone assumed he had a horrible season, but these numbers paint a different picture. I can imagine what his season would have been like if the Dolphins didn’t try and pound a square peg through a round hole, and play him at DE. I seem to recall Jordan projecting to a 3-4 OLB, or a 4-3 SAM, playing a role similar to Von Miller in Denver.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The thing I was most impressed by with Jones was his pursuit. He had a nose for tracking the ball carrier and chasing sideline-to-sideline or behind the line. It even led to a few splash plays. I’m sure he’ll get stronger, but I like a lot of what he showed as a rookie.

  • steeltown

    I am encouraged by his positive play against the run, the pass rush will come, he’s capable he just needs to build some strength and work on his technique and pass rush moves, but the fact that he played well against the run in his rookie campaign is a very good sign.

  • srdan

    agreed, things like that you can’t teach.

  • PA2AK

    ‘Some’ had the bar set too high, haha. Seemed like some of the coaches and fans were ready to chip in on his Canton bust and jacket by the end of camp! He did OK and looks to have a bright future though.

  • srdan

    You are right. Some. lol

    It was hard not to have the hype after listening to kiper and co. And then he beat out 93(sort of) and caused a few splash plays in camp. I was hyped. But midseason I realized what he was; a rookie. By the last quarter of the season he got his legs under him.

    I refuse to judge rookies before year three, especially in our organization. If I didn’t do this, Wordis and Hayward were busts. Far from the truth. This is why I don’t label Adams as anything. The kid hasn’t had an offseason yet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a different player next year. As a matter of fact, I woudl be surprised if we didn’t see immense growth before september.

  • SteelersDepot

    We? You could see this coming with him his rookie season. You should look at the sack breakdown of 2012 I did on him. Kid has to get a lot stronger and develop counters.

  • srdan

    Is “we” a French word?

  • Paddy

    Well if he fails again this year, he’s gone

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Lineback is going to be very interesting over the next year. Worlds and Jones could be anywhere from studs to not starting by this time next year. Inside isn’t much better. It’s tempting to go lb in the first and second. Having an option to worlds at 9+ per year would be nice.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Any rookie starting in year one is ahead of anyone else in history that didn’t. Unless someone is prepared to call him one of the greats they need to wait a few years.

  • dkoy85

    I’ve been cautiously optimistic with Jones. He had his flashes of play making ability… especially towards the end of the season which is what you really want to see… growth. If he can put on some weight and strength and keep up his speed I think he can become the play maker we think he can be.

    Looking forward to 2014 and some good camp battles between Jones/Moats and Williams/Moats. We should see some big growth out of these year 2 guys.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I think he will get better but needs to get stronger to make any noise i also think in the beginning of yr i heard his name being called a lot on plays

  • Callentown

    I wonder if the team would have hired Porter if this situation with JJ didn’t exist. I believe we will see a big jump from him in 2014, maybe not right away, but as the season progresses I see him showing some good stuff.

    Additionally, if Harrison returns, along with Porter’s mentoring, I think JJ’s demeanor will . . . adjust nicely.

  • Callentown

    Agreed dkoy. I saw those same flashes. He was a rookie in a difficult defense to learn right away. But there were still times he was in the right place and causing plays.

  • dkoy85

    I like the thought of Harrison pushing him and I love the thought of Porter coaching him- Porter will also be really good for Williams because he is already a fiery player to begin with.

  • steeltown

    Doubful.. he’ll still be in his relatively low rookie contract

  • treeher

    “Fail” is too strong a word. He didn’t fail, he just didn’t some very high expectations. With a season’s experience and our new linebackers coach, he will raise his game signficantly.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    To me, to win Super Bowls, it’s consistency through the top 22… but most importantly, you need 5 or 6 stars to take you there. So, Ben, Bell, Brown and to a lesser degree Miller or Wheaton on offense; and Jones, Worilds, Heyward, Mitchell and to a degree Troy. The OLBs make this thing tick on defense. It is such a fine line. I see Jones having a really good year. Health and the playmakers making play will matter.

  • Paddy

    He was awful

  • Guest

    He also had a problem guess wrong. And getting faced out.

  • T R

    He also used that speed too much and guessed wrong. And was faked out and was out the play.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    At times, sure. But he’s a rookie. Are we really expecting mistake-free football his first year in the league? We’re looking for the tools the build on.

  • shawn

    I like ur philosophy on the top 22 and 5/6 stars needed to make it to the show … and agree we have the 3 on offense … but i dont see ONE star on Def yet … hopefully some have breakout seasons possible contenders are Cam, Worilds, Cortez … down the line could be JJ but we surely need to draft a couple future STARS on def in the draft … hoping we get a CB that is a Stud

  • srdan

    compared to?

    Harrisons MVP season; sure.

    Anything else; he was ok.

  • PA2AK

    exactly. I was very skeptical myself and thought Worilds was poised to start…I really wonder who put JJ in place to start. Who’s call was that ultimately? Not likely an answer we will ever really know.

  • T R

    This is true was saying it as a negative. But more of what lebeau will teach him. Discpline. When u young you just want to be in every play. But lebeau will tell him to be where I tell you to be and let the play come to him. Speed always makes u think you can attach every plan instead of letting your team help you get plays to come to him.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    As a fan, I will hope for the best from JJ. But I also hope we draft one more legitimate pass rushing OLB this year.

    I think Jerimiah Attaochu is going to be a star. And he could possibly be had at 2.15.

    I don’t mind waiting for JJ to progress, or waiting to extend Worilds until we see more, but we really need a better back up plan that Moats.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    The way the Steelers play defense, I sort of am shying away from a first round corner- not for their ability, but because schematically, they won’t challenge the receivers as much. I think it’s easier to pick up a Fuller or Baptiste in the second round and draft Evans, Cooks, Beckham in the first. Personally, I would hope Evans would fall so the team can definitely then trade their pick. I would go out of the first round and pick up four picks (2nd and 3rd, 2nd and 3rd) then fill needs.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Let me stir the pot- if Bill O’Brien called and offered their 1st pick and 2nd (33rd overall) and first next year for Ben- would the team listen? What if the Browns want Manziel and we toy with the Browns and turn that 1st into the 4th pick and the 26th pick of the draft? Then the Steelers have three first round picks and two second rounders- in essence 5 of the top 51 players- oh and about what, $12M in free cap space for next year and beyond to get free agents. I know, I know- franchise QB is key to a Super Bowl…well so is having a franchise team… why have a gold spoon with a plastic bowl? THe Steelers remaining 21 isn’t to par with Ben, so why not dream a little dream. Thoughts?

  • Steeler Fanatic

    PS- I lived in Tampa and Rays GM Andrew Friedman was a genius at buying low and selling high- trading Garza, James Shields and pretty soon- David Price. That’s how the small market Rays can compete with the big market Red Sox and Yankees. Although the scales are more balanced in football, why can’t that premise hold true for the long-term stability of the team?

  • kamil

    JJ is going to be fine..he only had a year under his belt ,calm down! You sound like sombody whos never played football in thier life..

  • kamil

    Bc hes aggresive ,that can be fixed .you can say the game was a little too fast for him at first but the dude can play

  • kamil

    Jarvis jones , gets ripped for being a rookie and playing pretty good, i can see if he totally sucked but he doesnt,in steeler nation we dont tolerate fans who sound like they root for the other PA team

  • kamil

    And another thing if you dont watch college football faithfully and just watch highlights. You should probably stop Commenting .all this absurdity coming out people’s mouths piss me off lol

  • cp72

    Oui….took 4 years of French on high school cuz the teacher was smoking hot. It’s really paying off now in my day to day life.

  • shawn

    No problem at all picking up Baptiste in the 2nd … like him … actually only CB i would be pleased with in the 1st is Gilbert … there are plenty of good prospects in mid to later rounds …

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    if Jones comes to camp in the same condition physically as he did last year, label him a bust with a capital B. There is no arguing he was to small and weak to be effective plus he don’t have any scholarship years at the age of 25.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    which one of our first round picks the last 5 years have come in and did anything, even our Jarvis Jones who the steelers called one of the 6 or 7 special players in last years draft did little to nothing. ziggy, cam took 3 years, etc. the only guy that did ok after injuries let up was Decastro,

  • srdan

    Ms Ciambatti?

    I thought more people would get my joke.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    You are right, but remember, some of these guys were sitting behind veterans to start their careers- Jones looked lost more than he looked like he had no talent. When we draft in the 20s, especially with a weak draft here and again, you aren’t going to often get Adrian Peterson or Calvin Johnson. Colbert is better than most at first round talent- Ben-Heath Miller- Pouncey-DeCastro-Timmons-Polamalu- all are who still on the team- what other teams can they say to have six number one draft picks still on one club?

  • WIINGY

    This isn’t baseball. Their isn’t a position as important as the Quarterback. They play every day, not every five. You are wanting to get rid of the wrong old guy. The Steelers should of cut “other” vets to free up cap space, instead of extending them.

    How many players does New England have from their Superbowl “winning” teams? One = Brady. Everyone else is replaceable.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    I understand that… Just posing the question, and i don’t care what sport or business you are in… The same concept applies. Ben doesn’t elevate other players like Brady has, not a dig, but the truth.

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