Statistical Profile: Vic Beasley, Clemson

Posted on September 30, 2013

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Most of my work in the past has compared three to four players, examining relative ‘tiers’ of players. Now that I’m charting in more detail during the season, it’s a little harder to get enough games done in a week to do a comparison piece that won’t be outdated by next Saturday. So leading up to the draft, I’ll do a mix of player profiles and comparisons. We’ll start with a profile of pass-rusher Vic Beasley, who has been a terror off the edge for Clemson. This excludes the South Carolina State game, focusing only on BCS opponents so far.

How Often is He Getting to the QB?

For this I’m counting pressures, knockdowns, and sacks. Now I have very specific definitions of what I consider a “pressure”, so all of my work on various pass-rushers will be directly comparable to itself. However, because I’m not familiar with other grading systems I can’t guarantee that the numbers will be 100% equivalent to what you might see on PFF or other stats websites.

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  • All in all Beasley has 11 distinct instances where he’s pressured the QB this season. That’s fine, but we need to look at it as a function of his overall snaps, that is he has one overall pressure every 6.3 snaps he’s on the field. This pass rush productivity is similar in numbers to past top pass-rusher Dion Jordan and Jadaveon Clowney/Anthony Barr in the 2012 seasons.
  • That doesn’t count batted balls which some consider equally as important as sacks; the pass rusher effectively ends the play and causes a loss of down. While I won’t consider it in the pass rush productivity, it’s still good to see Beasley’s already gotten his hands on 3 passes. It shows he’s not just rushing blindly, but playing with a distinct awareness.
  • I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea of “clutchness” with a player. It’s a nice term to throw around and easy to make a metric out of, but sometimes it’s a good thing to keep in the back of your mind. Of Beasley’s 11 pressures, 7 have come on 3rd and 4th down which comprise 42% of his total pass rush snaps.

How is He Getting to the QB?

 Beasley is actually a very well-round pass-rusher in how he’s gets to the quarterback. Given his size and quickness you’d expect a player who constantly utilizes the outside speed rush, not so. 42% of his total pass-rush attempts have been to the outside, while 32% have been inside and 26% have been power/bull rushes. Six of his total pressures/sacks have come on inside pass rushes, while three have come from outside rushes.

I’ll preface this section by saying I haven’t done this for any other pass-rusher so there’s no good comparisons yet. I’m loosely recording the depth of passes by opposing QBs on non-sacks. That is as I gather more of this data it’ll be possible to find out if specific pass rushers played teams that were more likely to pass short and cause them to get less pressures. Conversely maybe they played teams that were throwing deep more often and they accrued more coverage sacks. This could go somewhere, it could go nowhere – for now I’ll just toss out what I have.

  • 20% of the total passes Beasley has faced have been screen attempts. This is a bit higher than what you’d expect for a set of average BCS QBs, but makes sense against Clemson’s formidable pass rush. It could most likely be expected that Beasley and other pass-rushers would get very few pressures on these attempts.
  • Only 7.3% of the passes Beasley has rushed against have been deep passes, which is a further testament to Beasley’s production thus far. We’re not seeing him get a bunch of coverage sacks due to QBs firing off deep balls all day long, his pressures are coming quickly against shorter throws.

Average Sack Time

This is one of the more fun sections for me. Last year I measured the times it took to sack the QB from snap to hit for the top pass rushers. Among the highest were Alex Okafor at 3.56 seconds, Barkevious Mingo at 3.63 and Dion Jordan at 3.87.

On Vic Beasley’s six sacks so far, his average time to hit the QB has been a ridiculous 3.16 seconds, besting Mingo’s record by half a second. The longest it’s taken him to get to the QB has been 4 seconds which is lower than the average time of many top pass-rushers. It’s evident both on film and in how quickly he gets to the QB that Beasley has elite closing speed.

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That’s all I have on Beasley for now. I’ll be keeping up with charting his progress throughout the season so I have a full season record come January. I’m also hoping to chart this same data for Anthony Barr and a few other promising pass rushers for profiles in the upcoming week or so. As always you can keep up with it all on Twitter at   . Thanks for reading.

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Posted in: Defensive Ends