I track how pass rushers are doing across the NFL. Some of you who follow me on Twitter probably hear me talking about Cameron Wake and Koa Misi a lot and how they're looking relative to other pass rushers.
One thing I like to do is award points for sacks (3), hits (2), pressures (1) and batted passes (2). I think of all of those as encompassing what it means to be a good pure pass rusher. Sacks are probably the best plays you can make. You get a hit on the QB (which is always good, like a body blow in a boxing match), you turn the play into a failure, plus the other team loses yardage. I think hits are very important too. Quarterbacks that get hit often throw errant balls which can be picked off. A batted pass to me is just as well, if you managed to get into the passing lane and get your hands up, you not only kill the play dead but you've dramatically increased your chances of a popped up interception off the batted ball. That's why I award those two (hits and batted passes) the same. Finally is the pressure. Getting pressure on a QB forces him to acknowledge you and takes his mind off the field. He may scramble away from you but it dramatically increases your chances of an incomplete, a sack once he resets, or even an interception.
So anyway, it's simple. What I like to do after I award the points is see who is the most efficient. Last year, by points alone, you'd never know that Cameron Wake was about to set the league on fire, unless you really tracked efficiency. It was the fact that he was affecting the QB once every 4.1 times he rushed the passer, which is absurdly effective, that helped tell us (in addition to our eyes) that this guy is something special.
On the left you'll find the most productive from among pass rushers that have rushed the passer 100+ times. On the right the most efficient, from among pass rushers that have rushed the passer 100+ times. The points per pass rush are multiplied by 100 for ease of reading.
You'll notice that Cameron Wake is very close to the most efficient pass rusher in the NFL. The most efficient is actually Tamba Hali, who terrorized Ryan Clady a year ago. Hali was one of the most efficient and productive pass rushers a year ago as well.
But check out who occupies the 5th and 6th most efficient pass rush spots in the NFL. Sometimes, things are just weird. The Dolphins ditch a 3-4 OLB because of (insert mysterious issue here) and draft a guy in his place, the guy they ditched goes bonkers in pass rush efficiency but the guy who replaces him is already one of the most efficient and productive pure pass rushers as a rookie. This Cam Wake/Koa Misi tandem is going to be a lot like James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley up in Pittsburgh. Very similar. Harrison was late to the party, had to scrape his way up the ladder and broke out at about the same age Wake did. In comes rookie Woodley opposite him and Woodley tears it up in his first year. Now they're one of the best tandems out there. Wake and Misi, in time, will be as well.