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What if Bradley Chubb is not the best pass rush option available?

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He is going to be the first one off the board, but there are intriguing options to consider.

The San Francisco 49ers badly need more depth at edge rusher. The team’s pass rush was inconsistent at best last season, and while Arik Armstead will likely get more edge opportunities, the team needs help. Cassius Marsh and Jerry Attaochu were both solid depth signings, but the team needs to figure out a No. 1 pass rusher in a hurry.

Sitting at No. 9, the 49ers are unlikely to land N.C. State edge rusher Bradley Chubb. He is viewed as the best edge rusher in this draft, and likely will be the first defensive player off the board. The 49ers will likely need to consider alternatives if they want to get aggressive at pass rusher.

Recently, five draft analysts sat down with senior reporter Joe Fann to discuss the options after Chubb. Four of the five said UT-San Antonio prospect Marcus Davenport would that guy. The fifth person said it would be Boston College’s Harold Landry.

It’s fitting timing Fann asked that question. Football Outsiders posted their annual SackSEER article at ESPN. SackSEER measures an edge rusher’s projected draft position, an “explosion index” (measures their scores in 40-yard dash, vertical leap, and broad jump in pre-draft workouts), score on the three-cone drill, a metric called sack rate as modified (SRAM: measures prospect’s per-game sack productivity, but with adjustments for factors such as early entry in the NFL draft and position switches during college), college passes defensed divided by college games played, and the number of medical redshirts the player either received or was eligible for.

In a bit of a surprise, Chubb ranks No. 2 in SackSEER, while Davenport is No. 1. The metric is a bit cooler on Chubb as a top five prospect, but is big on Davenport. They had this to say about how this came about:

SackSEER’s numbers give Davenport just the slightest edge over the more highly touted Chubb. As Clay Matthews and his 4.5 career college sacks can tell you, success at the edge rusher position can often be more about potential than production. Davenport shows statistical signs that he could be ready to similarly blossom in the NFL.

For one, Davenport had a strong combine workout, running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.58 seconds with a strong broad jump. Davenport also had a slightly above-average passes defensed rate. For a player slated to go in the teens (instead of the top five), Davenport sure looks impressive.

There is always the concern about a workout warrior pulling the wool over some folks’ eyes. In this case, Davenport adds solid work in passes defensed. He has shown flashes, but has not completely put his game together. That being said, maybe the 49ers decide to go with the questions but potential upside of Davenport.

It is worth noting that the difference between Davenport, Chubb, and Harold Landry (No. 3 on SackSEER) is not all that much. Davenport gets the edge, but Landry is close enough that SackSEER does not see a big problem in selecting any of the three over the others.


How would you rank these three pass rushers?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Chubb, Landry, Davenport
    (629 votes)
  • 28%
    Chubb, Davenport, Landry
    (535 votes)
  • 15%
    Landry, Chubb, Davenport
    (294 votes)
  • 6%
    Landry, Davenport, Chubb
    (130 votes)
  • 12%
    Davenport, Chubb, Landry
    (233 votes)
  • 3%
    Davenport, Landry, Chubb
    (67 votes)
1888 votes total Vote Now