FanPost

The Optimal DE

Well, with my previous post about drafting a TE meeting a lot of resistance from the Falcon faithful, I decided to start looking at some of the defensive ends that will be around when we pick at #27. Some of the names include Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, Cameron Heyward. Before I give my reasoning for hating all of these guys and why I think it will be a poor decision if we choose them in the first round, I went ahead and compiled the Pro Bowl defensive ends from the past few years. Note, this is not perfect. I got the list of names from a non-sports site, I got the height and weight from Wikipedia, and I simply googled each of their names to get an approximate 40 time. A majority of these guys are 4-3 DE’s (since 4-3 DE’s put up much better numbers that 3-4 DE’s, which greatly helps with Pro Bowl voting), but there are some exceptions. Join me after the list for my analysis.

2011

Justin Tuck NYG 6-5 274 4.62

John Abraham ATL 6-4 266 4.55

Julius Peppers CHI 6-7 283 4.68

Dwight Freeney IND 6-1 268 4.45

Robert Mathis IND 6-2 245 4.56

Jason Babin TEN 6-3 260 4.65

2010

Jared Allen MIN 6-6 270 4.72

Julius Peppers CAR 6-7 283 4.68

Trent Cole PHI 6-3 270 4.80

Mario Williams HOU 6-6 295 4.73

Kyle Vanden Bosch TEN 6-4 278 4.78

Shaun Ellis NYJ 6-5 290 4.85

2009

Robert Mathis IND 6-2 245 4.56

Dwight Freeney IND 6-1 268 4.45

Mario Williams HOU 6-6 295 4.73

Jared Allen MIN 6-6 270 4.72

Justin Tuck NYG 6-5 274

Julius Peppers CAR 6-7 283 4.68

2008

Aaron Kampman GB 6-4 265 4.65

Patrick Kerney SEA 6-5 272 4.72

Trent Cole PHI 6-3 270 4.80

Osi Umenyiora NYG 6-3 261 4.60

Aaron Schobel BUF 6-4 243 4.75

Jared Allen KC 6-6 270 4.72

Jason Taylor MIA 6-6 250 4.7

Kyle Vanden Bosch TEN 6-4 278 4.78

2007

Aaron Kampman GB 6-4 265 4.65

Julius Peppers CAR 6-7 283 4.68

Will Smith NO 6-3 282 ?

Aaron Schobel BUF 6-4 243 4.75

Derrick Burgess OAK 6-2 260 4.92

Jason Taylor MIA 6-6 250 4.70

2006

Dwight Freeney IND 6-1 268 4.45

Derrick Burgess OAK 6-2 260 4.92

Kyle Vanden Bosch TEN 6-4 278 4.78

Julius Peppers CAR 6-7 283 4.68

Michael Strahan NYG 6-5 275 ?

Osi Umenyiora NYG 6-3 261 4.60

Basically, I did this to get an idea of what the optimal physical measurements of a Pro-Bowl defensive end will be. I know this isn’t scientific by any means, but I thought it would be a little fun to do. So, at the end of my work I came up with the following averages for Pro Bowl DE’s since 2006. The optimal DE is about 6 foot 4.29 inches tall, 269.32 pounds, and runs a 4.69 40. Granted, size and speed is not the only determinant of how good a player will be. Technique and experience are also key. However, I can’t really do a comparison of technique of Pro Bowl DE’s vs. the potential draft targets. I then measured this against the guys that are projected to be there around our first pick. Here they are (with numbers according to CBSSports.com)

Adrian Clayborn Cal 6-3 286 4.79

Ryan Kerrigan Purdue 6-4 255 4.82

J.J. Watt Wisconsin 6-6 292 4.87

Cameron Heyward Ohio St 6-5 288 4.92

So in comparison to the optimal DE, these numbers don’t look good. Now, I won’t pretend to know much about these guys so please contribute your own opinions of them in the comments section (please abstain from the simple explanation of XXXX has better stats than YYYY so he must be better. Kellen Moore is not the best QB in the country even though he puts up the best numbers). I have seen a little of Kerrigan, and while his upper body strength is insane, he seems slow and I don’t think he has the speed to be a speed rusher. Watt and Heyward are very similar players in my opinion. They both could rotate between DT and DE (red flags if that is supposed to be the replacement for our speed rusher Abe). Neither one is remotely fast, and while they are great against the run, I think they will both struggle rushing the passer when they are being blocked by guys their own size with better technique.  That is just my opinions though. Personally, I have my eye on Sam Acho, Texas in the early rounds and maybe taking a flyer in the later rounds on a project like Markus White out of FSU. So, there you have my take on why I don’t think we should use our first round pick on a DE. Not because I am opposed to adding help at DE, but because I don’t think those guys will help. So, go ahead, let me know your thoughts. Good, bad, just try not to be too ugly. 

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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