FILMSTUDY: How much of an upgrade is Dumervil?


Do you ascribe Pro Bowl status to each first-round draft pick the Ravens make on the day of the draft?

Was it difficult for you to imagine how either Albert Belle or Glenn Davis would hit less than 40 HR in their first year as an Oriole?

Were you excited immediately following the acquisitions of Jim Harbaugh, Scott Mitchell, Leon Searcy, Elvis Grbac, and Dominique Foxworth?

Did you have Lee Evans penciled in for 70+ receptions and 1100+ yards in 2011?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may suffer from post-acquisition euphoria.

I’m as guilty as many and couldn’t resist high-fiving the friend who told me Elvis had been signed.

By the time I got home, however, I wanted to lay out the pros and cons.  I’d divide the factors into 8 categories:


Elvis is 29 and has played 6 NFL seasons in addition to sitting out all of 2010.  The Ravens are likely buying into the decline phase of his career.  There is significant difference between a 26 or 27 (typical 4-year FA ages) year-old and a 29-year-old, but the alternative might have been a 1-2 year rental on a player significantly longer in the tooth (Freeney 33, Abraham 35, or Harrison 35, as of the 2013 opener).  Ozzie acquired McCrary as a free agent after the 1996 season when Michael had his breakout, 13.5-sack season with Seattle (look at his career to that point and he’s a slightly better Paul Kruger).  When McCrary turned 29, he had 4 seasons, but just 27.5 sacks left in the tank.


This is the area where most folks focus.  It’s important and the easiest to summarize.  Dumervil has 63.5 career sacks in 6 seasons, including 11 in 2012.  That seems like a lot, but he rushes the QB on virtually every pass snap (559 of 617 in 2012, 91%) and generates some form of pressure on just 11% of snaps (60 hurries/hits/sacks in 559 pass rushes per PFF).  His productivity the last 2 seasons came opposite Von Miller, one of the best pass rushers in the game.  Despite that advantage, he was less productive than Kruger (pressure on more than 15% of rush attempts in 2012).  Given his size, I would have expected him to draw more than 3 holds in 2012, but he was 3rd on the Broncos behind Miller (9) and Wolfe (4).  He is a coverage liability who does not play the run particularly well.  He tries to time the snap and frequently pays the price (8 offsides penalties in 2012).

Changing Sides

He’ll have a chance to go up against more RTs this season, who are typically not as good pass blockers as LTs.  Last season Dumervil rushed 117 times from the offensive right side (ORS) which included 7 of his 12 sacks and 23 pressure events.  He was, in fact, the NFL’s most productive pass rusher from that side among either 4-3 DEs or 3-4 OLBs with pressure on 20% of pass plays (Kruger 18%).  I’d be surprised if the ability to move him opposite the RT wasn’t an important consideration to the Ravens.


His productivity might improve with fewer snaps.  The Ravens’ other edge setting talent (Suggs, Upshaw, and McClellan if he doesn’t switch to ILB) enables Pees to sit him on more potential running downs.  He played 87% of the Broncos snaps in 2012.  If I had to estimate his 2013 playing time barring serious injury, I’d say 71%, which was Kruger’s 2012 share of snaps.  If he takes a specialized role, he’ll likely generate more pressure, but the Ravens will be more vulnerable to the no-huddle due to the substitution issues.  His size matches up well against some of the other AFC North behemoths at tackle (Adams, Starks, Whitworth, Andre Smith).  Given his ability to find the edge low, he should generate more holding calls against these goons.

Relationship to other Ravens

He should help make Pernell McPhee a more effective pass rusher and I think they could become a dominant stunt team.  He adds critical mass to the Ravens pass rush which should make them formidable with a straight 4-man rush.  Since he doesn’t bring much to the table in coverage, he could hurt the pass rush in terms of disguised blitzes.


The Ravens will not have access to a top pass rusher in the draft without making a big play to move up in Round 1.  LT is another position of need which may require use of a top pick or picks, so they maintain more flexibility to trade up or take the best player available if they don’t need to have a pass rusher then.  The Ravens can address their needs at ILB, S, DT, and TE with picks that are not near the top half of round 1.

Strategic Roster Consequences

Terrell Suggs will be in the final year of his deal in 2014.  Given his cap number, the Ravens will likely ask him to take a pay cut or perhaps extend/restructure.  The signing of Dumervil gives the Ravens an option to replace Suggs in 2014.  Courtney Upshaw was exceptional against the run in 2012.  He was almost as bad as a pass rusher.  The Ravens buy themselves a year to use Upshaw situationally and not rely on him as a pass rusher.  That said, they will probably know a lot more about Upshaw’s pass rush skills by the time 2013 is complete.


His 2013 cap number is small ($2.5 million), so the Ravens would eat approximately $6 million with a 2014 cut.  That makes it a real possibility the deal is 1 year for $8.5 million (spread over 2 or 3 seasons) in addition to any incentive he might earn in 2013.


If pressed to provide over/unders for the regular season, I’d say 770 snaps and 9 sacks for Dumervil in 2013 barring significant injury.  However, “barring significant injury” becomes less likely each passing season.  He’s a good player at the price the Ravens got, but only when you consider all of the constraints, synergy, and option value above.  On a straight production-for-pay basis, I would have been surprised if Newsome would have made the move.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Filmstudy by Ken McKusick. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ken McKusick

Ken McKusick
Ken comes to us via area message boards where he has consistently posted some of the most insightful and memorable posts that you'll find anywhere.  Known as "Filmstudy", Ken is a lifelong Baltimorean and rabid fan of Baltimore sports who grew up about 1 mile from Memorial Stadium.  He attended...more

15 Raves on “FILMSTUDY: How much of an upgrade is Dumervil?

  1. True on said:

    Well, I hope that his production value is higher. I hope he gets 18 sacks. I hope he gets a bunch of quaterback hurries and hits and forced fumbles. I hope his ability opens up plenty of opportunites for Ngata, Suggs, Canty, Spears, McPhee, and everyone else. I hope we break the Bears’ record for 72 sacks in one season. I hope we also break the interception and point average also. But ya know. People in hell want ice water.

  2. MuscleonRussell on said:

    More than anything I think this move gives the Ravens flexibility up front…The depth and talent up front has significantly been upgraded on D. I think we should consider/hope that Suggs comes back at 100% and becomes the disruptive force on D that he was 2 years ago. The Ravens D-Line was not very good last year…When you add a Spears and Canty, Dumervil to Ngata (hopefully healthy), McPhee (hopefully healthy), Jones, Suggs (hopefully healthy), Upshaw, Coty (who was terrible last year) I think you have a pretty formative group at those positions. Not sure many teams in the NFL will have the depth and talent up front the Ravens will on D next year. Still worried about the Safety position as well as the ILB and WR.

  3. @thenflanalyst on said:

    Awesome stuff as usual Ken.

    Only thing I take issue with is the idea that we are buying into decline years. At a lot of positions in football that would be true, but good pass rushers typically produce very well into their early 30′s, and don’t really start to decline until about age 32. Obviously this is probably more of a 3 year deal and not a 5 yr deal, so in that case we aren’t really buying into any down years at all.

    Using limited data with just sacks being used here is how the average breaks down by age for top 25 career sack leaders (over 100 career sacks) from prime production of career on…

    Age 25…11.2
    Age 26…11.2
    Age 27…13.0
    Age 28…11.1
    Age 29…11.0
    Age 30…11.4
    Age 31…10.7
    Age 32….9.5
    Age 33….7.3
    Age 34….7.1

    As you can see it is pretty darn consistent all the way up to age 31 year, and you really don’t see that much dropoff until about age 32. With the reality of the deal we are buying age 29, 30, and 31 so we should be in good shape there.

    • Ken McKusickKen McKusick on said:

      Thanks for taking the time to put this together. The method is excellent, but I think you have selected a study group to which Dumervil has not yet graduated (100 career sacks). Doing so means you are only considering players who lasted well into their 30’s in accumulating those high career sack totals and high average sacks per year into their 30’s.

      I would redo the study by taking all of the players with between 57 and 70 sacks prior to age 29 (since that should provide a reasonable sample and Dumervil is right in the middle at 63.5), then do exactly what you did to show average sacks by age thereafter.

      I’d also say you can do that study 2 ways:

      • Method 1: Take the average sacks by age only for players remaining in the NFL at that age (don’t add 0 to the numerator and 1 to the denominator for players who are out). This should effectively answer the question “If Elvis is still playing at age X, how many sacks should I expect him to have in that season?”
      • Method 2: Take the average sacks by age for players both in and out of the NFL at that age (every member of the original group who is no longer playing contributes 0 to the numerator and 1 to the denominator). This effectively answers the question “What is the over/under on Elvis’ season sack total at age X given current information?”

      I can’t honestly tell which you used on the top 25. Both questions are interesting, but I think the 2nd is somewhat more pertinent to his contract.

      BTW, I would really love to see that information if you can put it together. I may need to play with to see if they have a way to analyze careers like that.

  4. FLACCOFOREVER on said:

    I think this article is ridiculous….the Ravens have never ever been know for their pass rush, but its something I know we have always wanted…from JJ to Kruger, they were great at setting the edge and never being out of position…that being said, dominating the line and one-on-one matchups were never their forte…Adding Dumervil will completely open things up for Suggs and Ngata and will ultimately significantly upgrade our pass rush. Ravens live off turnovers and the combination of these three will def create havoc. This is the best Free Agent Pass Rusher we could have signed so maybe since your writing a Ravens column you should be a little more optimistic. Just sayin.

  5. Sean on said:

    Flaccoforever – Are you trashing FILMSTUDY? Really? He consistently provides the best analysis of Ravens football and we are lucky to have him on this site. Take off your rose-colored glasses and pay attention to what he writes. You might learn something

  6. moose10101 on said:

    I don’t see any discussion of what effect moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 (where he’s been most effective) will have on his productivity.

    BTW, FLACCOFOREVER, Kruger was never good at setting the edge. That’s why he’s in Cleveland.

    • Fernando on said:

      Agreed. And Agreed… I think more than only playing in a 3-4, but imagine the 3 being Canty, Ngata and McPhee and the 4 being Suggs, McClain, the other starting ILB and Dumervil… And put that into a third and 9. I would not like to block that…

      • patrick on said:

        On 3rd and 9 the Ravens will play nickel with no NT with a front four most probably being Dumervil, McPhee, Ngata, and Suggs.

  7. Boldin Raver on said:

    Ken should get an award or something for this fact-based, informative post full of answers to the questions I had and to the questions I now know I should have had.

  8. karlw on said:

    Stats are garbage. The world’s attempt at trying to be God. Another person’s determination to be miserable and invoke the whiny and crying pessimistic folks.

    Just appreciate the signing and let’s play ball.

  9. on said:

    great detailed stuff as usual. Thanks. I was, an am, a bit ambivalent on the move because of our top heavy cap issues next year. We’ll see how it pans out but i do like the potential and versatility up front. The giants basically won two superbowls with a great defensive line that covered up a lot of patchwork in the back seven. To be honest, elvis generally outperforms my opinion of him at least in terms of productivity. It is a nice thought lining him up on the left side.

  10. purpleneons on said:

    He will DEFINITELY have more than 9 sacks. He might have 9 half way through the season.

    Awesome signing……..

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