True Sack Rate (TSR): A film project to quantify sack production - Week 17 update

For a complete background on the TSR metric including how sacks are graded and the definition of terms click here.

Results & findings through 17 weeks of the season

  • Final top 28 in sack score rankings (minimum score of ‘5.25’)

  • Myles Garrett has been in the number one spot in sack score rankings since the initial TSR article after Week 10 and finishes the season comfortably ahead of his peers with a sack score of 15.25. Garrett finished with 13 sacks (all HQ) and 4 forced fumbles (2nd) playing just 70% of snaps. He’s also the youngest player in the top 14 sack score at 25-years old.

  • T.J. Watt finished 1st in total sacks and 3rd in sack score due to having one more LQ/cleanup sacks (8) than HQ sacks (7) and only one forced fumble. When you study Watt on tape this season the majority of his high-quality rushes came on pressures (led the NFL) rather than sacks, so the TSR doesn’t fully show how excellent of a season he ultimately had.

  • Trey Hendrickson is tied for 2nd in edge-rusher sacks with 13, but ranks 13th in sack score because of the nature of the sacks he tallied. Hendrickson had just 3 HQ sacks with the remaining 10 sacks being a result of excellent coverage, being unblocked, or the QB holding on to the ball for too long.

  • There are 8 undrafted free agents that finished inside the top 49 sack score rankings (minimum score of ‘4’):

    • Romeo Okwara (5th), Shaquil Barrett (16th), Dennis Gardeck (17th), Benson Mayowa (23rd) Malik Reed (27th), Kerry Hyder (32nd), Mario Addison (42nd), and Carl Granderson (49th).

  • Final draft slot breakdown of the top 50 sack score rankings:

    • 1st rounders: 18

    • 2nd rounders: 9

    • 3rd rounders: 7

    • 4th rounders: 6

    • 5th rounders: 2

    • 6th rounders: 0

    • 7th rounders: 0

    • UDFAs: 8

  • The highest rated 6th round edge-rusher this season is Texans OLB Jacob Martin with a sack score of 3, ranking 55th.

  • The highest rated 7th round edge-rusher this season is Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo with a sack score of 2.5, ranking 61st.

  • Final HQ sack leaders (minimum of 4)

  • I don’t suspect this will happen many times in the future of this metric, but the Browns had the NFL’s top two leaders in HQ sacks in Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. Making it even more notable is that all of the 22 sacks between them were HQ, so their sacks/snap and HQ sacks/snap were identical. No other individual edge-rusher in the NFL with five or more sacks could say the same.

  • Dennis Gardeck finishing with 6 HQ sacks on 8% of snaps will never not be amazing, especially considering he is just one of three undrafted free agents on this list.

  • Benson Mayowa makes a late appearance (19th) among HQ sack leaders after finishing the year with 4 of his 6 sacks being HQ (3 of them coming against backup tackles).

  • Players with zero HQ sacks and at least 50% of snaps played: Tanoh Kpassagnon (67%), Jerry Hughes (59%), Dante Fowler (56%), & Tyus Bowser (51%).

  • One major takeaway from the HQ sack metric after reviewing each individual player’s sheet and all of their sacks is that the vast majority have come against backup tackles. It makes sense that sack production would spike against inferior competition, but it is something I plan to consider in the off-season when I re-evaluate my process. Perhaps it would be wise to include level of competition to distinguish the quality of all sacks and not just HQ and RHQ. As it stands now, if a rusher beats an ‘above average or below’ pass-blocker 1-on-1 with advanced skill, moves, or athletic ability they get the ‘HQ’ distinction. I could add another layer that keeps RHQ for beating very good and elite players 1-on-1, with HQ being for beating good and solid players 1-on-1, and adding something new that is below HQ but above LQ for 1-on-1 wins against below average or worse (backup) players. That would just help differentiate the production in a more nuanced way and provide a more accurate representation of the essence of the TSR, which is to qualify sacks in a way that reflects the most skilled pass-rushers. If you have any thoughts on this idea just leave them in the comment section below so we can discuss

  • Final top 10 leaders in most sacks per snap (minimum of 500 snaps):

    1. Trey Hendrickson - 1 sack every 42.9 snaps (558 snaps)
    2. T.J. Watt - 1 sack every 57.0 snaps (855 snaps)
    3. Myles Garrett - 1 sack every 58.2 snaps (757 snaps)
    4. Za’Darius Smith - 1 sack every 66.0 snaps (858 snaps)
    5. Haason Reddick - 1 sack every 67.2 snaps (874 snaps)
    6. Justin Houston - 1 sack every 67.6 snaps (608 snaps)
    7. Joey Bosa - 1 sack every 68.6 snaps (549 snaps)
    8. Romeo Okwara - 1 sack every 74.9 snaps (749 snaps)
    9. Everson Griffen - 1 sack every 75.4 snaps (528 snaps)
    10. Bud Dupree - 1 sack every 76.0 snaps (608 snaps)

  • Final top 10 leaders in most HQ sacks per snap (minimum of 500 snaps):

    1. Myles Garrett - 1 HQ sack every 58.2 snaps (757 snaps)
    2. Joey Bosa - 1 HQ sack every 78.4 snaps (549 snaps)
    3. Olivier Vernon - 1 HQ sack every 89.3 snaps (804 snaps)
    4. Carlos Dunlap - 1 HQ sack every 118.6 snaps (593 snaps)
    5. T.J. Watt - 1 HQ sack every 122.1 snaps (855 snaps)
    6. Romeo Okwara - 1 HQ sack every 124.8 snaps (749 snaps)
    7. Haason Reddick - 1 HQ sack every 124.9 snaps (874 snaps)
    8. Za’Darius Smith - 1 HQ sack every 143.0 snaps (858 snaps)
    9. Benson Mayowa - 1 HQ sack every 143.0 snaps (572 snaps)
    10. Justin Houston - 1 HQ sack every 152.0 snaps (608 snaps)

  • Final top 5 leaders in most HQ sacks per snap (day 3 draft picks or UDFAs)

    1. Dennis Gardeck (UDFA) - 1 HQ sack every 15.5 snaps (93 snaps)
    2. Josh Sweat (4th round) - 1 HQ sack every 105.3 snaps (421 snaps)
    3. Romeo Okwara (UDFA) - 1 HQ sack every 124.8 snaps (749 snaps)
    4. Marquis Haynes (4th round) - 1 HQ sack every 130.0 snaps (390 snaps)
    5t. Za’Darius Smith (4th round) - 1 HQ sack every 143.0 snaps (858 snaps)
    5t. Benson Mayowa (UDFA) - 1 HQ sack every 143.0 snaps (572 snaps)

2020 Award Section

  • Best forklift sack

    • Eagles DE Josh Sweat vs. Saints LT Terron Armstead

  • Best sack stringing multiple moves together

    • Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett using a cross-chop then a double-swipe vs. Chiefs LT Eric Fisher

  • Best strip-sack

    • Lions DE Romeo Okwara vs. Bears RT Germain Ifedi

  • Most HQ sacks

    • Browns DE Myles Garrett - 13

  • Most HQ sacks per snap (minimum of 5 sacks)

    • Cardinals LB Dennis Gardeck - 1 HQ sack every 15.5 snaps (6 total)

  • Highest percentage of sacks that ended a drive (minimum of 5 sacks)

    • Broncos DE Bradley Chubb - 100% (7 sacks)

  • Youngest edge-rusher in the top 28 sack score rankings

    • Panthers DE Brian Burns - 15th with a sack score of 7 (22.7 years old)

  • Oldest edge-rusher in the top 28 sack score rankings

    • Eagles DE Brandon Graham - 20th with a sack score of 6 (32.8 years old)

  • Biggest surprise

    • Lions DE Romeo Okwara finishing 5th in sack score (10 sacks, 6 HQ, 3 forced fumbles)

  • Biggest disappointment

    • Falcons DE Dante Fowler finishing 74th in sack score (3 sacks, 0 HQ, 1 forced fumble)

    What to expect from now until Week 1 of 2021

  • This off-season I plan to chart every edge-rusher sack of the 2019 season using this same methodology plus chart every interior pass-rusher sack from the 2020 season. This will allow us to have more data to parse through and hopefully identify trends, weak spots in my process, and additional value in this metric. I also really want to study the interior rusher sacks because there are a few guys that I think aren’t getting nearly enough hype this season (Ex: Panthers DT Efe Obada).

    You can expect updates on both of these off-season projects shortly after the season ends with various articles coming over the spring and summer as I dive deeper into everything the TSR has uncovered. Thank you so much for following along and for all of your support as I continue to build the TSR and Trench Warfare newsletter into something unique and insightful. I wouldn’t be here without your support.