Shedding Pass Blocks

October 1st, 2020

Surprise among league leaders.

Over at BSPN, the nerds have devised a few stats based on NextGen stats (which is data from sensors on players’ equipment that tabulate all sorts of things, from position on the field to speed).

NextGen data is clear cut. Sort of like the speedometer on your rig. There is no hidden agenda, no one in an Irish dorm room in the dark of the night to twist numbers to fit an agenda or narrative.

As Derrick Brooks would say, “It is what it is.”

Using NextGen stats, numbers geeks find out what linemen do on both sides of the ball when they lock horns.

A win-rate is when Defensive Lineman-X beats and/or outmuscles Offensive Lineman-Y, etc., etc. You get the drift.

Think of “win” as “beat.”

Now when you think of the Bucs pass rush, NFL sack king Shaq Barrett comes quickly to mind as does Jason Pierre-Paul. Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh also have been known to harass quarterbacks.

But Will Gholston?

Well, NextGen data shows that few defensive tackles are beating their blocks better than Gholston. Again, Per NextGen stats, Gholston defeats his blocks 19 percent of the time on pass plays. That’s No. 3 in the NFL behind fellow defensive tackles Grady Jarrett of Atlanta and Tyson Alualu of Pittsburgh.

Now why doesn’t Gholston have more quarterback hits (he has three) or sacks (one)? That’s a far different issue.

Could it be Gholston doesn’t have the closing speed to get to the quarterback more often? Could it be he is lined up at a poor angle for getting to the quarterback? Is it that because of spacing, Gholston usually lines up farther from a quarterback than Vea and JPP?

Joe doesn’t have the answer. But Joe thinks it is neat that with all the name pass rushers on the team, it is the guy never thought of as a pass rusher who beats blocks better than them all.

Top 10 DT Pass Rush Win Rate

13 Responses to “Shedding Pass Blocks”

  1. Bobby M. Says:

    IMO….Gholston will replace Suh next year. With the salary cap likely to pull back, we simply wont be able to keep everyone and i definitely think Suh can start somewhere which will net him $4-6 million a year. As we look for ways to resign players and hold the roster together, we will have to give up some luxuries on the d-line and TEs, possibly at RB. Gronk had one productive outing but has yet to show $10 million in value. Brate isn’t worth whatever he’s making….i’m surprised they haven’t moved him. If we keep Fournette, I can see letting Rojo and McCoy go….or vice versa. Overall, still a pretty solid unit that can compete for a playoff spot.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe, I’m wondering if Gholston is beating the OLinemen, but it’s just taking him longer to get through the block than it takes some of the other DTs. For instance, Grady Jarrett & Chris Jones are doing much better than either Alualu or Gholston or Fletcher Cox (the latter 3 have almost exactly the same number of sacks, TFLs & QB Hits), but Jarrett & Jones are also quick beasts.

    It’d be interesting to find out what weight Gholston is now playing at. As a DE he always ran around 280; but I think I remember reading that they asked him to put on more weight this year. Whatever he did, Will needs to keep doing it; he’s having a helluva year IMO.

  3. D-Rome Says:

    This is fascinating. Even if he’s not getting many sacks or hits he’s still creating a lot of pressure which is something that is not officially recorded. My eyeball test says he’s been all over the field this season. He’s doing far more noticeable things on that defensive line than I have noticed in the past few years.

  4. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    So you are saying…Stats are for Winners?

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    Gholston has always been a solid player. Not jaw-dropping spectacular, but very solid, especially against the run.

    IMO, he was a ‘tweener in a 4-3, not a stud DE pass rusher, and not a bad-a$$ interior DL.

    Maybe he is where he should be: a DE in a 3-4.

  6. Joe Says:

    Joe, I’m wondering if Gholston is beating the OLinemen, but it’s just taking him longer to get through the block than it takes some of the other DTs.

    Joe speculated just that as a possible reason.

  7. Joe Says:

    He’s doing far more noticeable things on that defensive line than I have noticed in the past few years.


  8. 813bucboi Says:

    looks 305 in that pic…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  9. Swampbuc Says:

    Gholston is beasting. Great to see. Hard working dude, great player to have on the team.

  10. PSL Bob Says:

    It’s great that he’s in the top 10, but he’s tied for 3 others for the No. 3 spot. Also, only 2% points separate the Nos 3 and 10 positions, whereas, the top two are heads and tails above everyone else. Looks like the Falcons and Steelers have the “elite” D-linemen.

  11. alaskabuc Says:

    I told y’all Will is playing like a dark horse pro bowler this year. Looks like that extra bulk is paying off.

  12. Whinger Herder Says:

    When picking who to double-team, Suh, Vea and JPP get picked first. Still like Gholston’s game.

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I have a lot of respect for Big Will and his game. But as good as Vea and Big Will are playing, I think Suh is the glue that holds everything together. in the middle
    of the line. I am impressed with how he doesn’t give up on a play and chases down
    running backs that have broken through the line. Keep him here as long as he wants to play!