Force Players is an athletic threshold based off of combine performances of pass-rushers that I’ve been working on since 2011. It isn’t the end all be all for edge defenders, but it’s close. It works as a healthy risk analysis, based on a sample of the 2005 through 2015 draft classes.
After running a study on the retention rate of pass-rushers based on combine athleticism, I decided to look at what “peak sack” of Force Players are compared to non-Force Players.
Here are the raw facts:
- Based on pass-rushers from the 2005-2013 classes, first-round Force Players average 9.14 sacks a season for their three best sack totals. First-round non-Force Players only average 4.49 sacks in their prime. Of the 16 non-Force Players drafted in the first round, only two, Aldon Smith and Chandler Jones, even crossed the 9.14-sack mark over a three-year span. A first-round Force Player has a 50 percent chance to average 10 sacks or more for his three best sack totals, while that number for non-Force Players is 12.5 percent, one fourth of a Force Player’s chances. Eight of the 11 Force Players who haven’t reached a three-year 10-sack peak are still on a roster, meaning 72.7 percent of those hitting under the mark still have a chance to improve their scores. Only four of the 14 non-Force Players who hit under the mark are still in the NFL, a 28.6 percent number, about two fifths of where the Force Players hit.
- Second-round Force Players average 6.47 sacks a season for their three best sack totals. First-round non-Force Players only average 3.04 sacks in their prime. Of the 19 non-Force Players drafted in the second round, only two, Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard, even crossed the 6.47-sack mark over a three-year span. A first-round Force Player has a 33.3 percent chance to average 10 sacks or more for his three best sack totals, while that number for non-Force Players is 0 percent. Of the four Force Players who didn’t reach a three-year 10-sack peak, Jason Worilds retired in his prime, and Brooks Reed and Jamie Collins are still on a roster. Other than Kruger and Sheard, only three of the remaining 17 non-Force Players are still in the NFL, good for 17.6 percent.
The trend is pretty simple, In just about every case, Force Players double non-Force Players in sack output of their best three seasons when split by round. Judging by the number of active players in each category and the success of pass-rushers from the 2015 and 2014 draft classes, the numbers should only rise over the next few years.
- First-round Force Players: 9.14 sacks
- First-round non-Force Players: 4.49 sacks (49.1 percent of FP)
- Second-round Force Players: 6.47 sacks
- Second-round non-Force Players: 3.04 sacks (47.0 percent of FP)
- Third-round Force Players: 8.42 sacks
- Third-round non-Force Players: 3.72 sacks (44.2 percent of FP)
- Fourth-round Force Players: 3.52 sacks
- Fourth-round non-Force Players: 1.63 sacks (46.3 percent of FP)