His analysis seems to be stats based, but he does make some interesting points. Thoughts?
Reasons not to draft a NT at #12 http://www.thephinsider.com/2010/3/14/1 ... a-nt-at-12
NT’s Are Ineffective At Rushing The QB
One of the big reasons stated for drafting a NT is to get “push” up the middle when rushing a QB. As the chart shows, the NT’s listed above simply don’t rush the passer well. Only 3 of the NT’s listed graded out as “average” by Profootballfocus.com. All others are ranked “below average”. When grading the Pass Rank, the site takes into effect sacks, QB hits, and QB pressures and none of the NT’s graded very well at all. How many on this site have wanted a NT to pressure the QB like Wilfork or Jenkins? Yet, both of those players are considered below average when rushing the passer.
But as you noticed, all NT’s ranked above average in Rush Rank. The likes of Pouha, Gregg, Ratliff, Wilfork, and Franklin are outstanding run defenders. Also notice that Ferguson is the best ranked pass rusher but is ranked slightly behind Soliai when it comes to defending the run. (How many of you are surprised by Soliai ranking ahead of Fergie when it comes to defending the run?)
NT’s Are Part Time Players
Another interesting stat shown in the chart is the % of snaps played. Most NT’s in the chart play between 40% - 60% of the snaps. Only two played more than 60% of the snaps available, Wilfork (64%) and Ratliff (72%). The reason why these players are playing a small % of snaps points to the Pass Rank category above. NT’s don’t rush the passer, so they are not on the field on passing downs. If you delve into the % of snaps played by NT’s in 2nd & Long or 3rd & Long situations, the % of snaps falls dramatically.
Drafting NT’s In The 1st Round Are Not Sure Things
There are 4 NT’s on the list taken in the 1st round (Pickett, Raji, Hampton, Wilfork). None of them are elite pass rushers (in fact Hampton is the worst pass rusher on the list). Only one, Wilfork, would be considered an elite run stopper. I would make the argument that the best all around NT’s on the list are Gregg and Ratliff and they were drafted in the 6th and 7th round respectively. Not only are they excellent at stopping the run, they are average at rushing the passer, which grades out much higher than the other NT’s on the list. (As an aside, Fergie and Ratliff were both drafted by Parcells and both in the 7th round).
In conclusion, the Phins are going to make a big investment in the #12 pick. Last year the #12 pick, Knowshon Moreno, got a contract worth $23 million over 5 yrs with $13 million guaranteed. If I was going to pay that much for a defensive player, I would want that guy to be a multi-dimensional player (not just a run stopper) and be on the field more than 60% of the time. If the Phins must go defense, go after an OLB. Get a player like one of these guys who not only stop the run (except for Dumervil), but rush the passer as well.