Monday, January 24, 2011

Player Profile: DeMarcus Ware

DeMarcus Ware
Position: Outside Linebacker
Size: 6'4, 262
Age: 28, 7/31/82
College: Troy State
Drafted: Round 1, #11 - 2005
Experience: 6 Seasons

Salary History and Contract Status: 10/26/2009: Signed a seven-year, $79 million contract. The deal contains $40 million guaranteed, including a $20 million signing bonus. 2009: $6.005 million, 2010: $7.8 million, 2011: $6.7 million, all guaranteed. 2012: $4.5 million with $500K workout bonus, 2013: $5.5 million with $500K workout bonus, 2014: $12.25 million, 2015: $13.75 million, 2016: Free Agent

2005 Draft Profile From OurLads: (ranked 2nd best LB behind Texas' Derrick Johnson) DeMarcus Ware - Troy - 6'4, 251, 4.59 (40 time): Three Year Starter. Defensive End who projects as a situational pass rusher or outside 3-4 rush linebacker. Has experience dropping into coverage. Explosive first step quickness and a burst to close on quarterback. Fast twitch. Sudden body movements. Hustles all over the field. Disruptive player who makes plays from the backside. Inconsistent to use a variety of pass rush moves. Natural pass rush tools and quickness. Plays with knee bend. Needs to get stronger in the upper and lower body. Struggles to hold the point, fight double teams, and separate from big tackles. Outstanding body control and balance. Shows suddenness on inside charge, outside pass rush, stunts, and slant moves. Finds the ball quickly. Above average lateral movement. May be a Chris Doleman type right defensive end.

Pre-2010: Ware has been in the NFL for 6 seasons. During those 6 seasons, there are only 2 players who average more than 10 sacks in all 6 of those seasons. Just 2 players in all of football can say they have more than 60 sacks. Ware has 80. Jared Allen has 74. And nobody else can top 60. But Ware is so much more than that. Of the 25 players with the most sacks since 2005, Ware also leads that list in tackles, too. He also is 2nd on the list to Robert Mathis with 24 forced fumbles over that stretch. Those 3 statistics should show you what should already be obvious to anyone who even sort of follows this team and this player. DeMarcus Ware has been awesome on every level. The Cowboys had the 11th pick in the 2005 draft, and no linebackers went before Ware. However, 5 LBs were selected in the next 7 picks from #11 to #17. Ware, Shawne Merriman, Thomas Davis, Derrick Johnson, and David Pollack. What was at first a controversial decision to take Ware over Merriman has been proven clearly the proper call over the last few years. Another thing that has been disproven is the premise that Ware has hollow numbers. We ran these numbers earlier this year and found his production is the same regardless of the situation. Simply put, there may not be a more dominant OLB in all of football, but even if there is, that player would be hard pressed to combine the excellence AND the longevity that Ware has already put together. Jim Jeffcoat is the Cowboys all-time sack leader with 94.5 (Harvey Martin and others are victims to sacks not being an official statistic before 1982) and Ware could catch him next season. Charles Haley had 100.5 in a 12 season career that many believe should be represented in Canton at the Hall of Fame. Ware is very much on his way there, as well. graded Ware as the 2nd best pass rusher in the NFL this season, finishing only behind Tamba Hali of Kansas City. According to their grading system, he was actually graded as the 4th best LB in run defense. Given that Anthony Spencer is thought across the league as almost impossible to run at, this is not completely surprising, and he is still thought of as pretty good versus the run. If there is anything that occasionally gets DeMarcus in trouble in the run game is the rare occasion where he doesn't keep contain. That was a much bigger concern though in his early career. He is very solid in nearly every phase. The Cowboys scheme their 3-4 in a way where Ware almost never is in pass coverage. He covered receivers 66 times in 2010, compared to Spencer in coverage 172 times. It is clear that on passing downs, the Cowboys do not try to trick teams with Ware - they simply don't have to. He is that good.

2011 Analysis: An elite player who seems to only get better and better, he is a true stud that Rob Ryan has never had to work with on the defense. It will be very interesting to see how they try to change this defense and work on more ways to get pressure on the QB. But, given that Ware has dominated throughout his career, and led the Cowboys in Sacks, QB Hits, and QB Pressures, it is time that they find ways to add to Ware rather than tinker much with what he is doing. Given his emotion, hustle, and leadership, it is easy to conclude that there are several issues on this defense - but Ware is not one of them. A true superstar in his prime.

Previous Profiles:
Doug Free
Marc Colombo
Sam Young
Alex Barron

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