PFF Insights: 2016 outside linebackers

As I mentioned in the most recent podcast, I made the decision to upgrade to Pro Football Focus premium to get all their in-depth stats and analysis. The amount of information they have is going to help immensely in my to create more in depth articles as well as being able to create a more informed and compelling podcast.

furthermore, considering the depth of information, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the information I find that most likely has never been revealed.

2016 Outside Linebackers

Considering the overwhelming panic that is currently setting in on Packers fans around the globe, I thought it would make sense to look at the 2016 group of outside linebackers and see what kind of information I can gather.

Pass rush productivity

The way PFF defines pass rush productivity (prp) is “pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting toward sacks”. I’ll be honest… It’s pretty surprising. At the top of the list is Kyler Fackrell. At the very bottom is a fan favorite, Jayrone Elliott.

As further encouragement to our distressed fanbase, the top 3 in the category are Kyler Fackrell, Nick Perry, and Clay Matthews. Recently departed Datone Jones and Julius Peppers were ranked after them.

Newly acquired Ahmad Brooks isn’t going to blow anyone away with his prp but it’s the same grade as Julius Peppers which I’m sure will make a few smile.

Run stop percentage

I’ll create a reference article for each of these definitions at some point in the future so I don’t have to define these each time, but run stop percentage (stop %) is defined as such:

A player’s impact in the running game is sometimes erroneously based on the total volume of tackles made. However, firstly, does that number include tackles on passing plays and, more importantly, did those tackles really count? Stops constitute a “loss” for the offense so this table shows the percentage of stops per snap played only in run defense.

For those that wrote off the article after my comments about Fackrell and Elliott, this may be a little more what you were looking for. On this list Perry and Elliot are at the top with respectable grades while Matthews and Fackrell are near the bottom of all NFL players.

Ahmad Brooks is in the middle of the pack and once against lines up quite nicely with the 2016 version of Julius Peppers. Once again, not a comparison that will upset many Packers fans.

Tackling Efficiency 

Defined as “the number of attempted tackles per miss”, we once again see the glory that is Kyler Fackrell. Possibly propped up by low sample size, Fackrell led the team in tackling efficiency, followed by Perry, Elliott, and Matthews.

Wondering how Ahmad Brooks did? If you guessed that he was about the same as Peppers, you’re catching on!


Finally we get to the underappreciated outside linebacker skill, coverage. Unfortunately, this is an area the Packers seem to lack in the most. Of all 2016 linebackers, the only player to rank in the top 32 for coverage snaps per reception was Julius Peppers, who was top 10 in the category. A big blow for the team.

Of the current players, only Nick Perry was ranked better than 50th. Kyler Fackrell, a man who seems to either want to be best or worst, is at the bottom.

If you are looking for Brooks to be Peppers in this category, I’m afraid he isn’t. Still, although not in the top 10, Brooks was in the top 25 for snaps per reception, was the top OLB for the 49ers in the category, and based on 2016 number is currently the top coverage OLB on the team.

To get all these insights and more, be sure to check out For player grades and more, be sure to check out PFF Edge. For deeper insights like what I brought you today, be sure to take a look at PFF Elite.

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About Ryan Schlipp

Metal forged, mettle tested, and medal earned as a Packers fan growing up in the heart of Chicago Bears country. Now a contributor to Packernet, it's my honor and privilege to represent the Green and Gold.

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