Tip to Lovin’ Blue, Advanced NFL Stats tries to figure out how to measure the impact of a defender.
Can +WPA really tell us who the best defensive players are? Let’s see if the top defenders in +WPA for 2009 make sense. For linebackers, there’s Jonathan Vilma, David Harris, LaMarr Woodley, Patrick Willis, Gary Brackett, Ray Lewis, James Harrison, Karlos Dansby, London Fletcher, and Terrell Suggs.
The top defensive ends include: Aaron Schobel, Jared Allen, Andre Carter, Will Smith, Ray Edwards, Trent Cole, Alex Brown, Brett Keisel, Mario Williams, and Dwight Freeney. Guys like Julius Peppers, Justin Tuck, and Robert Mathis are right behind.
For tackles, there’s: Kevin Williams, Kyle Williams, Jonathan Babineaux, Darnell Dockett, Justin Smith, Albert Haynesworth, Jay Ratliff, Tommie Harris, Marcus Stroud, Vince Wilfork, and Pat Williams.