Pumping Up The Pass Rush
Pumping Up The Pass Rush
Jay AdamsPublished March 22, 2011 at 3:31 PM
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You can always count on ESPN.com NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas to come up with some really interesting stats, figures or polls to pour over. He doesn’t disappoint once again, as today he wrote about Falcons defensive end John Abraham being the only top 10 pass-rusher from the NFC South represented in ESPN.com’s pass-rush power rankings.
Pass-rush power rankings, you ask? Certainly. Why not?
Anyway, Abe came in at No. 7 in ESPN.com’s rankings — the lone NFC South representative in the top 10. If we look at the mocks, it’s clear that most experts believe the Falcons are looking to improve the pass rush during the offseason, particular in April’s Draft.
But ESPN.com’s rankings really underscore a problem for the entire NFC South. Apparently, it’s a division that’s keeping opposing quarterbacks safe and sound.
To be fair, Abe did anything but that during a Pro Bowl 2010 season with 13 sacks. But outside of him and Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson, who netted 11.5 sacks during a breakout year, the division lacked in this critical area.
Behind those two in the division were New Orleans defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis with 6 sacks, New Orleans defensive end Will Smith with 5, Tampa Bay defensive end Stylez G. White with 4.5 and then Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma with 4 in the top 40 pass rushers from the NFC in 2010.
Those numbers pale in comparison to the NFC East, which had 11 players represented in the top 40 pass rushers in the NFC last year and accounted for an astounding 84.5 sacks.
So while the mocks continue to project the Falcons getting deeper and better at pass rush positions, the same will likely be true of other teams in the NFC South.
And with Carolina, Tampa Bay and New Orleans all drafting before the Falcons in the first round, it could be a safe bet to see a pass rusher Atlanta wants on the opposite side of a division rivalry.
Now, to the poll:
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