Eagles Pass-Rusher Rankings


NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

One of the most pleasant surprises for the Eagles through the first six games has been their ability to consistently generate a pass-rush.

In the last three games specifically, the defense did an excellent job of keeping Eli Manning, Austin Davis and Colin Kaepernick uncomfortable in the pocket.

And the way they’ve done it has been impressive. The Eagles don’t have a premiere pass-rusher whom offenses have to game-plan for every week. Instead, Billy Davis has done a good job with his calls, sometimes dialing up pressure and other times using the illusion of pressure to create one-on-one matchups.

Below is a look at how individual Eagles have performed. Sacks are commonly tracked. Hurries are kept by Eagles coaches after watching the All-22 tape. Same goes for balls batted at the line of scrimmage. I went back and tracked hurries (intentional groundings too; but the Eagles haven’t drawn any of those yet so they’re not included). Opportunities are tracked by Pro Football Focus. And I calculated the percentage of time each player made something happen, given his opportunities.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

 SacksHurriesBalls BattedHoldings DrawnOpportunitiesPressure %
Connor Barwin6103014413.2%
Brandon Graham26006911.6%
Trent Cole3.5111217410.3%

This group has led the charge with all three players producing. Connor Barwin has a team-high six sacks to go along with 10 hurries and three batted balls.

Brandon Graham has probably played even better than the numbers indicate. You can see he’s only getting about 40 percent as many pass-rushing chances as Trent Cole. I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers get a little bit closer in the second half of the season.

Cole, too, has done a good job. He has 3.5 sacks to go along with 11 hurries. Cole has batted a pass and also drawn a couple holding penalties.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

 SacksHurriesBalls BattedHoldings DrawnOpportunitiesPressure %
Brandon Bair1110535.7%
Vinny Curry40011134.4%
Fletcher Cox04002151.9%
Beau Allen0100531.9%
Bennie Logan02001151.7%
Cedric Thornton00011300.8%

Aside from Vinny Curry, the primary job of the Eagles defensive linemen has been to stop the run, and they’ve been effective in that area.

From a pass-rush perspective, Curry has been very good. He’s found a role as a pass-rush specialist, often spelling Cedric Thornton on third down.

Brandon Bair hasn’t had a lot of opportunities and is known primarily as a run defender, but he has a sack, hurry and batted ball on the season.

The numbers on Fletcher Cox are deceiving. He’s been disruptive on a weekly basis, consistently moving opposing QBs off their spots. The sack numbers will likely come for him in the second half of the season.

Bennie Logan, Beau Allen and Thornton have tough jobs because they often come off the field in true pass-rushing situations. When they get chances, they’re usually tasked with run responsibilities before transitioning to their pass-rush. Still, they’ve had their moments.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

 SacksHurriesBalls BattedHoldings DrawnOpportunitiesPressure %
Mychal Kendricks13102420.8%
Casey Matthews0.52002015%
Marcus Smith II0100166.3%
DeMeco Ryans0000530.0%
Emmanuel Acho0000170.0%

These numbers are going to be a bit wonky because of the limited opportunities, but I decided to include them anyway. Mychal Kendricks has only played two games, but he’s shown he can get after the quarterback. When he’s healthy and returns, look for Davis to blitz him quite a bit.

As you can see, DeMeco Ryans has not been able to get home.

In 20 opportunities, Casey Matthews has made some things happen. Marcus Smith II has played 50 snaps overall, and 39 of those have been passing downs. On those plays, he’s dropped into coverage 23 times and rushed the passer 16 times. His lone hurry came at the end of the shutout over the Giants.