The Learning Curve for NFL Pass Rushers

2024-25 NFL Computer Predictions and Rankings rushers learning curve
As stated by Professional Football Weekly, each player’s NFL career begins with a steep learning curve. The “new kids on the block” by and large do not deliver as much production in their rookie year, with many making a significant jump in their second season.

It is common for players to struggle during their rookie season, with the learning curve “leveling out” for most positions by Year 2. One of the most common mistakes new NFL players make is that they are simply not prepared physically for the season and come into camp out of shape compared to veteran players.

Pass Rush
According to ESPN, one way NFL rookies can make strides in their execution is by focusing on their pass rushing skills. “Pass rush” is a term used in American football to describe the defensive team’s goal of getting to the opposing quarterback as quickly as possible, ideally before he delivers a pass. The ultimate goal of the pass rush is to either sack the quarterback for a loss of yards, or force him to make a mistake leading to an incompletion or other negative play. Having a strong pass rush has become increasingly important in today’s game, as the NFL has gone from a run-first league to one which relies on the forward pass as the primary means of gaining yardage and scoring points.

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There are multiple methods utilized in pass rushing. A few of them include:
Stunt or Twist: This is one of the more effective strategies of rushing the passer. The defensive players rapidly change positions at the snap of the ball, with each attacking a different blocker than the offense originally anticipated.
Bull Rush: This method involves a rusher attacking a blocker hard, punching up towards his chin. The goal for the defender is to get down to his hips level as quickly as possible.
Push-Pull Swim: This pass rush move requires some hand placement and footwork strategies in order to be successful. The edge rusher must get upfield quickly to cause the blocker to lean backward. Next, use a bull rush technique to force the tackle to plant his back foot, making him lean forward. Finally, the rusher pulls the tackle to him and “swims” over him towards the ball carrier.
Other strategies for rushing the passer include the club/chop, out-and-in dump, speed edge, long arm bull rush, bull part, bull spin, bull rush/drag, and more.

In the NFL/football, blitzing can be a strategy used by the defense to disrupt pass attempts by the offense. During a blitz, an extra amount of defensive players rush the opposing quarterback in an attempt to either sack him or force him to rush his throw early. Essentially, a blitz is a play with the goal of sacking the quarterback by sending more players to rush than usual. Blitzing the quarterback can lead to sacks which result in a loss of down and yardage, or it can simply cause the offense to make mistakes.

A blitz is typically defined as more than four defenders being assigned to rush the quarterback. Blitzes can come from all over the field, such as from a linebacker down the middle or a cornerback pulling out of coverage to rush. Blitzing is the most effective form of pass rush, but it also comes with the highest risk. A blitz refers to a pass rush with a larger number of pass rushers than normal. If, for example, a team rushes three players, this would not be considered a blitz even though those three players are still pass rushing.

Draft These 5 NFL Rookies and Mercilessly Win Your Fantasy League!

Drafting rookies is a “High-Risk High-Reward Strategy” that can give your team a jolt out of the gate – while the other owners cry for mercy!

It’s normal to get excited about rookies coming into the league, as the possibilities are endless. We’re always looking for the next Michael Thomas or Christian McCaffrey. Everyone knows those guys are unicorns in fantasy, but it doesn’t stop owners from trying to find them. Because of that, fantasy football enthusiasts are willing to venture into the land of the unknown.

Should you be one of them? Well, it depends. Not only have we done research this offseason to determine what rookies (at all positions) are worth in fantasy football based on where they were drafted, but we’ve been doing this for years while not being partial to either side of the argument. By being partial, you could be missing out on some of the biggest steals in fantasy drafts, and that does nobody good, including that best friend in your back pocket.