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Should Colts pass on Chubb if they don’t project him as a sack artist?

Should Colts pass on Chubb if they don’t project him as a sack artist?

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Football Outsiders’ has put together projections for pass rushing prospects all the way back to 1998 utilizing what they refer to as their SackSEER metrics. These metrics consider a number of measurable or quantifiable details about a college player’s productions as a pass rusher and uses it to project their future success in the first five seasons of their NFL careers. From ESPN, their methodology is as follows:

SackSEER is based on a statistical analysis of all edge rushers drafted in the years 1998-2016, and measures the following:

The edge rusher’s projected draft position. These projections use the rankings from Scouts Inc.

An explosion index that measures the prospect’s scores in the 40-yard dash, the vertical leap and the broad jump in pre-draft workouts

The prospect’s score on the three-cone drill

A metric called SRAM (sack rate as modified), which measures the prospect’s per-game sack productivity, but with adjustments for factors such as early entry in the NFL draft and position switches during college

The prospect’s college passes defensed divided by college games played

The number of medical redshirts the player either received or was eligible for

Included among the very top point earnings using this metric are Julis Peppers, Mario Williams, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Myles Garrett. Each of these prospects projected to have more than 30 sacks using these metrics, with Courtney Brown and Gaines Adams at the bottom of the over 30 club.

Chubb received a score of 24.6 which compares to Ezekiel Ansah at 26.8, Joey Bosa at 25.4, and Dante Fowler Jr. at 20.0. SackSEER projects that Chubb average 5 sacks per year in his first five NFL seasons. Interestingly, using this methodology the top pass rusher in the draft is Marcus Davenport who is projected to collect 25.9 sacks.

As with any other metric that has been created, there are certainly outliers. Barkevious Mingo received the same score as Davenport and has not made a meaningful impact in the NFL as a pass rusher. Jerry Hughes received a grade of about 16 — he had 15 sacks in his first five years — but he produced 25 sacks in his next four seasons.

Still, the metric has been reasonably accurate for a lot of players and does not foresee that Chubb will be marquee NFL pass rusher. The biggest concern for me is that analyzing his tape is consistent with the model. Chubb is certainly a top tier NFL prospect and should be a very good pro but I am simply not convinced that he is a dominant edge rusher. I think he is good or very good at everything you could ask him to do as a 4-3 defensive end and his greatest strength is as a run stopper and edge setter.

This begs the question, is Chubb the Colts best choice if he is there at 6? Is the team looking for a very good defensive end or could they get more value from a player at a different position who does offer game-changing qualities? Don’t let any part of these questions suggest that Chubb isn’t a top NFL prospect in this draft but if he is not going to be a game-breaking pass rush threat, should the Colts look elsewhere?


If Chubb is available but the Colts don’t project him as a marquee pass rusher, should they look elsewhere?

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