clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kony Ealy is quite efficient at batting down passes

New, comments

A secret weapon may have finally arrived.

NFL: New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After a will-they-won’t-they over the course of a few years, the Cowboys finally got Kony Ealy to dance with them this offseason.

Dallas has had an affinity for the former Missouri defensive end, and as one of Rod Marinelli’s mighty orphans we’re all hoping that he’ll prove why in 2018. Ealy hasn’t exactly been a star since his big game in Super Bowl 50, but he hasn’t been nonexistent either.

Kony was a productive member of the New York Jets, an oxymoron if there ever was one, especially in one specific area... batting down passes. Imagine him lining up next to David Irving.

This data alone is interesting, but it doesn’t tell the story of how efficient Kony was. Consider the production here when measured against their respective defensive snap counts:

  • Cameron Jordan..................................987
  • Kony Ealy..............................................452
  • Carlos Dunlap......................................876
  • Emmanuel Ogbah...............................462
  • Denico Autry........................................593

It’s indisputable that Kony made the most with what he had to work with. He had almost as many deflections as Cameron Jordan in about half of the time. Jordan counts $14M against the Saints salary cap this season, Ealy counts $1.2M against the Cowboys cap.

Of course, the art of deflecting passes is one of many reasons NFL teams pay their defensive linemen, but this bodes well for Kony Ealy. Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis had 11 and 10, respectively, passes deflected for the Cowboys last season. Ealy’s nine (which was one more than Morris Claiborne’s by the way) would have been third before Chidobe Awuzie’s seven. The aforementioned David Irving had six.

Irving has increased his number of deflections every year in Dallas (3, 5, 6), despite only playing in eight games last season. Two big defensive linemen up front that can knock balls down is a great weapon for any defense.