One of the featured writers they added to their roster was draft scouting guru and former TJB Podcast guest Matt Miller, who - along with several other film junkies - is spearheading the B/R NFL 1000 project, where they attempt to rank the NFL's top 1,000 players. The project is now into its third year and they've just started releasing this year's results. For more on how the project works go here.
In terms of defensive tackles, they rank Damon Harrison 12th. Kenrick Ellis is unranked. There are no Jets ranked in the 4-3 defensive ends list, presumably on the basis that the Jets are thought of as a 3-4 team.
Here's what they said about Harrison:
“Big Snacks” might always be limited to base and run-stopping defensive packages due to his lack of ability as a pass defender, but his ability to stop the run makes him an ideal fit as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive front.Read Bent's thoughts after the jump.
While there was much consternation over Muhammad Wilkerson only being ranked as the ninth best 3-4 defense end, omitting Kenrick Ellis from their defensive tackle list altogether might be an even bigger oversight. Maybe they just didn't consider him at all because he didn't play enough snaps, but Ellis was ranked as PFF's 5th best run stopping defender (and 17th overall) even despite his low snap count. He ended up with their best overall ranking on a per-snap basis and was number one in the NFL for run stop percentage among all defensive tackles with a 25% or higher run snap count.
There's plenty of griping in the comments about the omission of Vince Wilfork and Kyle Williams from this list, but Wilfork only played three full games and Williams was already included in the 3-4 defensive ends list. That's not the case with Ellis, though, as he finds himself snubbed from a list that includes a bunch of clearly inferior performers.
In a similar vein, it's interesting to note the omission of Quinton Coples from the 4-3 defensive ends list. One would assume he'll appear on the list for 3-4 outside linebackers instead, but - despite the fact that's what he's listed as on the Jets' official depth chart - he actually had his hand in the dirt on the edge of a four-man line on 58% of his snaps last year. Therefore, we should probably re-visit the 4-3 DE list once he gets his final score to get a more suitable comparison.
Harrison ends up in 12th because, as you'd expect, he scores really well (a perfect 50/50!) for run defense, but not so well as a pass defender. In fact, they're perhaps overly critical here, saying that Harrison "rarely goes forward off the snap, and when he does, he exhibits poor balance."
The big issue here is the ridiculous contradiction in their rationalization for Muhammad Wilkerson's production ("the emergence of other stars on the New York Jets defensive line helped him put up great numbers in 2013") and their rankings for Harrison, who they acknowledge "is typically removed from the game in situations in which the opposing offense is expected to throw, and that’s because he makes minimal impact as a pass-rusher." Wilkerson's tackle numbers actually went down in 2013, despite an increase in play, so Miller and his colleagues must be attributing his increased production as a pass rusher to his teammates...who then go on to score poorly as pass defenders which doesn't make any sense. That's unless the likes of Coples and Calvin Pace will score higher than we expect. I wouldn't hold your breath for that, though.
Oh, and by they way, it's "Snacks", not "Big Snacks".
We'll continue to keep an eye on this project over the offseason.