Just as he did on Tuesday, NFL.com writer Nick Shook has caught our eye with another article ranking players based on Next Gen Stats from 2022.
In this one, Shook endeavors to identify players who are disruptors for opposing offenses, using NGS metrics that include TO-QBP: turnovers caused by pressure.
I tend to weigh turnovers caused by pressure with the most significance, given the impact turnovers have on a game.
This exercise requires a careful balance of volume and efficiency, leading to the occasional ranking that might not make sense with simple logic. Player A has more pressures than Player B; why is he ranked lower?
When the numbers are comparable, I lean toward higher efficiency. Are these defenders maximizing their pass-rushing snaps, or are they benefiting from a higher total of snaps?
While edge rushers Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys, Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers, Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns and Haason Reddick of the Philadelphia Eagles lead this top-10 ranking, just three defensive tackles are listed — and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Chris Jones leads them.
5. Chris Jones · DT · Kansas City Chiefs
QBP rate: 10.3%
Typically, interior defensive linemen don’t make this list, save for all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Coincidentally, in a year in which Donald missed six games, another defensive tackle produced on a level worthy of this list.
Jones receives some attention on a national level because he plays for the perennial powerhouse Chiefs. This is true. But his performance is the main reason the spotlight is frequently trained on him, and he certainly lived up to high expectations in 2022.
For context, here are Donald’s numbers from 2021, which were good enough to earn him an eighth-place spot on this list a year ago:
QBP rate: 10.8%
Donald produced higher totals in pressures and hurries, but where Jones truly separates himself is in the most significant outcomes: sacks and turnovers caused by pressure.
Jones was a game-wrecker whose contributions appeared throughout the 2022 season. His impact in the Chiefs’ demon-exorcizing AFC title game win over the Cincinnati Bengals was evident through all four quarters, especially when defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo moved Jones to the edge for a one-on-one matchup with right tackle Hakeem Adeniji, producing a crucial third-down sack in the game’s final minute. That’s the type of player Jones has been for years: a fortune-changing disruptor.
“Well, our first goal — always — here is to hoist that Lombardi Trophy,” said Kansas City defensive line coach Joe Cullen back in August. “And for us to get there — to get the opportunity to do that — he has to have a career year.”
Cullen was speaking — very prophetically, as it turned out — about Jones.
Snook placing him above all of the other interior defensive linemen in this ranking is just another indicator that in his seventh season, Jones wasn’t just a disruptor. He was a monster. That’s why he was named an All-Pro for the first time in his career.
And for that, a lot of the credit has to go to Cullen.
“Me and Joe see eye-to-eye on a lot of things,” said Jones of his position coach during 2022’s training camp — adding that he and Cullen had immediately connected during their first meeting. “I don’t think we’ve had a disagreement yet. But we definitely see eye-to-eye on a lot of different things: the mechanics, how we view pass rushing, the aspect of pass rushing, what type of expectations we should have as a group.
“I love Joe, man. That’s my guy.”
It’s not yet known whether the team will choose to extend Jones — who will be 29 when he begins the final year of his contract against the Detriot Lions on Thursday, September 7 — but as long as Cullen will be around for however long Jones’ extension might turn out to be, it seems like it would be the right move.