In Pro Football Focus' pass rush profile of Jason Pierre-Paul, the statistical analysis website breaks down the Giants defensive end and every aspect of his game.
PFF compares JPP of 2011 to the 49ers' Aldon Smith in 2012, explaining there is a direct parallel between both prospects transforming from raw talents to pass-rush phenoms.
"Both emerged from college as “unpolished” physical specimens who could be molded into elite defensive players," writes lead analyst Ben Stockwell.JPP's production declined in 2012 -- what head coach Tom Coughlin attributed to poor conditioning.
"Both players have shown with their early career performance that a good football player (as opposed to a raw athlete) was closer to the surface than some might have thought, putting in stellar performances almost from the outset of their respective careers."
In his breakout 2011 campaign, JPP totaled 17 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, 39 hurries and 72 total pressures, earning a PFF pass rush grade of +10.3
In contrast, last season he managed seven sacks, four quarterback hits, 44 quarterback hurries and 55 total pressures, equaling a PFF pass rush grade of +4.4.
PFF considers JPP's strength is his ability to rush the passer. The special thing about the Giants' young star is he is versatile enough to line up in numerous positions along the defensive line while still generating the same amount of pressure.
"He’s a versatile defensive lineman who can play multiple spots and is the best run defending 4-3 defensive end in the league," writes Stockwell. "Combine that with his five batted passes and you have to consider the all-round package that Pierre-Paul brings beyond just being a pressure generating machine."If there's a strength, there's also a weakness.
PFF labels JPP's weakness as his inability to get outside of pass protectors frequently enough to force them to over-compensate for the Giants' outside pass rush, which theoretically should open the lane for inside moves.
Pierre-Paul averaged only one outside pressure per game in 2012 and converted on just three of 16 into a quarterback hit or sack. In 2011, he fared much better, doing so on almost half of his 29 pressures.
If JPP wants to become the best overall pass rusher he can be, it's important for him to correct this aspect of his game.
"Certainly JPP’s interior pass rush snaps will hurt his efficiency numbers somewhat, but in only registering 16 outside pressures all season he limited what was possible from the rest of his pass rushing repertoire," writes Stockwell.Despite a "down year" in 2012, PFF -- and most experts across the NFL -- consider Pierre-Paul an elite pass rusher with limitless potential
"He has consistently shown that he has the power moves (one of the better bull rushing edge rushers in the league to go with his inside moves). If he can just be a little more consistent at beating pass protectors to the outside he will surely elevate his play back towards where his 2011 sack total indicated he was capable."
Their reasoning: JPP accumulates pressure more consistently than most pass rushers; he simply needs to improve of converting that pressure into sacks and hits.
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