How Often do Pass Rushers Affect the Quarterback?

As J.J. Watt has shown us in the first half of the seasons, pass rushers can have a major impact on opposing offenses, but their entire defense, too. That brings up this question: how often does a defensive end, tackle, or 3-4 or 4-3 outside linebacker affect the quarterback, per snap? Thanks to the guys over at Pro Football Focus, we can dive deep into these kinds of statistics for rushers.

With that, I present the newest football box score statistic: IMPACT Percentage (IMPACT%). How is this calculated? Well, actually, it is a very simple process. All you have to do is add up the pass rushers’ quarterback hits, sacks and hurries and divide it by the total number of snaps said player has been on the field this season. This shows us what percent of the time the pass rusher is making an “impact” on the quarterback while he’s on the field.

Looking over the data provided by PFF, I looked at all defensive ends and outside linebackers in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. To keep the list short, I only kept players who had 20 or more total impact on the quarterback (hits + sacks + hurries). That ended up being 19 players in the IMPACT% data for this first post.

Below, is the list and rankings for the 19 who ended up on the IMPACT% table. You might be surprised by who is at No. 1 (hint: it’s not Watt).

1. Pernell McPhee (DE, Baltimore Ravens) — Snaps: 206, IMPACT: 22, IMPACT%: 10.80%

2. Dwight Freeney (DE/OLB, San Diego Chargers) — Snaps: 261, IMPACT: 27, IMPACT%: 10.34%

3. J.J. Watt (DE, Houston Texans) — Snaps: 404, IMPACT: 41, IMPACT%: 10.15%

4. Von Miller (OLB, Denver Broncos) — Snaps: 291, IMPACT: 29, IMPACT%: 9.97%

5. Jason Hatcher (DE, Washington Redskins) — Snaps: 263, IMPACT: 24, IMPACT%: 9.12%

6. DeMarcus Ware (OLB, Denver Broncos) — Snaps: 259, IMPACT: 23, IMPACT%: 8.88%

7. Cameron Wake (OLB, Miami Dolphins — Snaps: 269, IMPACT: 23, IMPACT%: 8.55%

8 (T). Michael Bennett (DE, Seattle Seahawks) — Snaps: 286, IMPACT: 24, IMPACT%: 8.39%

8 (T). Jerry Hughes (DE/OLB, Buffalo Bills) — Snaps: 274, IMPACT: 23, IMPACT%: 8.39%

10. Wallace Gilberry (DE, Cincinnati Bengals) — Snaps: 280, IMPACT: 23, IMPACT%: 8.21%

11. Ezekiel Ansah (DE/OLB, Detroit Lions) — Snaps: 245, IMPACT: 20, IMPACT%: 8.16%

12. Ryan Kerrigan (DE/OLB, Washington Redskins) — Snaps: 384, IMPACT: 31, IMPACT%: 8.07%

13. Cliff Avril (DE, Seattle Seahawks) — Snaps: 263, IMPACT: 20, IMPACT%: 7.60%

14. Lamarr Houston (DE, Chicago Bears) — Snaps: 297, IMPACT: 21, IMPACT%: 7.07%

15. Quinton Coples (DE/OLB, New York Jets) — Snaps: 289, IMPACT: 20, IMPACT%: 6.92%

16. Trent Cole (DE/OLB, Philadelphia Eagles) — Snaps: 362, IMPACT: 24, IMPACT%: 6.63%

17. Justin Houston (DE/OLB, Kansas City Chiefs) — Snaps: 320, IMPACT: 21, IMPACT%: 6.56%

18. Ndamukong Suh (DT, Detroit Lions) — Snaps: 313, IMPACT: 20, IMPACT%: 6.39%

19. Jurrell Casey (DT, Tennessee Titans) — Snaps: 336, IMPACT: 21, IMPACT%: 6.25%

What’s your overall thoughts on the IMPACT%? Let me know in the comments section. Also, be sure to keep up with Analytics Game, as we will be bringing out a lot more NFL-related content in the coming days.

About Evan Sidery

Evan Sidery is the Editor of Analytics Game and an intern for 1260 WNDE. Evan has previously written on platforms such as SB Nation, Sheridan Hoops, and multiple USA TODAY partners.