Haloti Ngata is an interesting player. On the one hand you have a guy who has been named an All-pro each of the last five seasons. The NFL players voted him the 9th best player in the league entering 2012, and 42nd entering this year. On the other hand, you have a guy who is versatile enough to play nose tackle and defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but noticeably heavier entering 2012. It’s something that may have affected his abilities as a DE. Maybe it led to his knees bothering him all season as well.
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The seven year veteran will play more of role as a nose tackle in 2013 and is bulking up again because of it. However at a press conference yesterday, Ngata would not divulge his current weight. We can only hope the added weight doesn’t hamper his health.
Ngata has been a hot topic of debate, and some scrutiny on our message boards. Is he living up to his five-year, $48.5 million dollar contract? ($27.9M guaranteed). He enters the third year of that contract this year, with a salary cap hit of $11.5M. That will jump up to a $16M cap hit for 2014 and 2015.
You can only tell so much without the help of film. Even watching the games, where are your eyes and where is the camera? Following the guy with the ball. Even statistics aren’t the definitive answer, but it’s a start. Haloti Ngata is also a special case because of the places he lines up in the “organized chaos” defense. Sometimes he’s in the 3-4 DE spot. Sometimes he’s over the center as a DT. Once or twice a game he even drops back into coverage after the snap. As far as stats go, Ngata is measured against other DTs in 2010 and 2011, but as a DE in 2012. To be fair, how many 340 pound defensive ends are there?
As far as stats go, a defensive stop is considered one where the tackler holds the ball carrier to 40% of 1st down yardage (less than four yards on 1st and 10), less than 60% of required 2nd down yardage, and not allowing a conversion on 3rd or 4th down. In 2010 Haloti Ngata made 25 tackles on running plays and 24 of those were considered “stops”. He made a stop on 10.3% of all run snaps he played. That is third best in the league behind Aubrayo Franklin (11.9%) and Richard Seymour (11.5%). However, as far as tackles go, his 25 on run snaps ranked 17th. Ahtyba Rubin was 1st in the league in that department with 58. You’re probably wondering, “who is Ahtyba Rubin?” He seems like someone who teams were not afraid to run in the direction of, or opposing teams didn’t feel the need to put and extra hat on. Safe to say tackles aren’t a definitive way to measure a nose tackles success. If a big guy takes up two men, allowing the LB to make the stop, that’s great. He’s not missing tackles. And that’s the gray area that only the coaching staff, the guys who line up along side and opposite of him really know what Ngata brings to the table.
When it comes to rushing the passer in 2010, Ngata was very middle of the road. Pass rushing productivity measures sacks, hits, or hurries on all pass rushing snaps. There is a weighted advantage toward sacks. Ngata posted a 4.5 PRP in 2010, while Richard Seymour was tops with 8.7.
Since Haloti Ngata’s 2011 contract extension:
2011 Run Stop % (Defensive tackles)1. Broderick Bunkley – 10.7% 2. Sione Pouha – 10.2% 3. Jurrell Casey – 9.3% . 21. Terrence Cody – 6.7% 25. Haloti Ngata – 6.4%
2011 Pass rushing productivity (Defensive tackles)1. Geno Atkins – 8.9 2. Cullen Jenkins – 8.2 3. Marcus Darius – 7.5 . 19. Haloti Ngata – 4.5 Terrance Cody –Did not qualify
2012 Run Stop % (3-4 Defensive ends)1. J.J. Watt – 17.1 % 2. Justin Smith – 11.7% 3. Muhammad Wilkerson – 10.9% . 9. Haloti Ngata – 6.9% 16. Arthur Jones – 5.8%
2012 Pass rushing productivity (3-4 Defensive ends)1. J.J. Watt – 10.5 2. Calais Campbell – 7.8 3. Jason Hatcher – 7.7 . 5. Haloti Ngata – 6.6 Arthur Jones – Did not qualify
Remember, pass rushing productivity is weighted heavier in favor of larger sack numbers. Ngata, not your traditional edge rushing defensive end, still ranked 5th best among 3-4 DEs. Higher than some guys you may know, such as Darnell Dockett (5.8) Brett Kiesel (5.3) Justin Smith (4.3) and Cory Redding (3.5). Sure he only recorded five sacks, but he got pressure on the QB 48 times, averaging three times a game he’s a disruption in the passing game.
To sum it up, 2011 was a bit of a down year after receiving that large contract extension. But the fact that he moved back into the top ten at stopping the run, and top five at disrupting the passing game in 2012 is a testament to the big man’s versatility and athleticism.
Haloti Ngata has the fifth highest average salary of all defensive tackles and 3-4 defensive ends. Did the team get their money’s worth in 2012? You could say that. You might also wonder if a move back to nose tackle is the right one for Ngata, given his success as a DE in 2012.