Steelers LaMarr Woodley 15th in sacks per game, average draft position No. 37 for top sack producers

Ronald Martinez

An interesting statistical piece, it shows a good range, but when the rubber meets the road, the top sack producers are drafted in the top 13. The good news is there seems to be a fairly even split between defensive ends and outside linebackers, but perhaps the younger guys are beating the older guys overall. - nc

The Steelers needed more QB pressure last year--that was the number one shortcoming in an otherwise very good defense. Not enough pressure, and hence not enough turnovers.

I see a lot of discussion about how the Steelers can wait until later rounds to draft a pass rusher, that we need Safety or WR or OL or NT in the first round.

However, if the Steelers think they can wait to get a pass rusher for good value in a later pick, they are facing long odds.

I did a quick analysis of the top 20 sackers in the game in the 2003-2012 time period, as determined by sacks/game, with a minimum 20 sacks to weed out small sample sizes. I also included the draft position of each player.

I will grant that sacks/game is a crude metric, but it is a pretty good crude metric, even though it might not really correctly identify the best pass rushers of the period.

Not counting Cameron Wake, the undrafted anomaly in this list, the mean draft position of the other 19 gentlemen was was 37.7, and the median (half drafted higher, half lower) draft position was only 13.

By the way, notice the presence of Lamarr Woodley on this list and stop telling me we need to cut him. For those who are interested, James Harrison comes in at 43rd with .49 sacks/game, and Joey Porter at 35th with .54 sacks/game.

So, my preference is Ansah/Mingo in Round 1.

Aldon Smith LB SF 32 33.5 5 1.046875 7
Von Miller LB DEN 31 30 8 0.967742 2
DeMarcus Ware LB DAL 128 111.5 32 0.871094 11
Jared Allen DE MIN 141 117 27 0.829787 126
J.J. Watt DE HOU 32 26 4 0.8125 11
Clay Matthews LB GB 58 43 7 0.741379 26
Michael Strahan DE NYG 65 46 6 0.707692 40
Simeon Rice DE DEN 63 44 17 0.698413 3
Cameron Wake LB MIA 62 43 7 0.693548
Elvis Dumervil DE DEN 91 63 16 0.692308 126
John Abraham DE ATL 137 94.5 35 0.689781 13
Mario Williams DE BUF 98 64 13 0.653061 1
Dwight Freeney DE IND 147 94.5 35 0.642857 11
Julius Peppers DE CHI 158 99 32 0.626582 2
LaMarr Woodley LB PIT 83 52 8 0.626506 46
Aaron Schobel DE BUF 101 63 19 0.623762 46
Robert Mathis DE IND 147 91.5 38 0.622449 138
Brian Orakpo DE WAS 49 30 6 0.612245 13
Shawne Merriman LB BUF 75 45.5 8 0.606667 12
Leonard Little DE STL 92 55.5 21 0.603261 65
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