Perspective on Elliott’s Sack Title

Elliott (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY)

With some big exceptions, the NFL's preseason sacks leader has done little in his professional career.

Green Bay Packers rookie Jayrone Elliott led the NFL in sacks this preseason with five.

That accomplishment almost certainly earned him a spot on the 53-man roster, with Elliott capitalizing on his opportunity as an undrafted free agent from Toledo.

Elliott is the first Packers player to lead (or tie for the lead) in sacks since Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila in 2001. Since 2000, only Miami’s Adewale Ogunleye had more sacks than Elliott in a preseason.

What does that mean, though? Like all preseason stats, sacks can be incredibly misleading. Three of them came against St. Louis’ Sean Hooey, a first-year player who started only six games in his collegiate career at Cincinnati. More impressive was Elliott’s sack against the Chiefs’ starting right tackle, Donald Stephenson.

The chart below shows the NFL’s preseason sack leaders since 2002, when Ogunleye paced the league with eight. In all, 23 players led the league or tied for the lead league from 2002 through 2013. Of them, 13 never had as many sacks in any single regular season as he had in his league-leading preseason. Moreover, eight have a career sack total of zero, one-half or one.

Then again Robert Mathis has 111 in 11 career seasons, Shaun Phillips has 79.5 in 10 seasons and Ogunleye had 67 sacks in 10 seasons. Geno Atkins is an All-Pro and, if recovered from a torn ACL, perhaps the best defensive tackle in the NFL.

YearPlayerTeamSacksCareer Sacks (seasons)
2014Jayrone ElliottGB5.0TBD
2013Caesar RayfordIND5.00.0 (one)
2012Quinton CoplesNYJ4.510.0 (two)
2012Thomas KeiserCAR4.59.0 (three)
2011Auston EnglishCLE4.00.0 (two)
2010Geno AtkinsCIN4.529.0 (four)
2009Nick ReedSEA4.51.0 (two)
2008Mkristo BruceJAX3.50.0 (one)
2007Le Kevin SmithNE4.01.0 (five)
2007Chris CooperARI4.08.5 (six)
2007C.J. MosleyNYJ4.011.5 (nine)
2006Juqua ParkerPHI4.542.5 (12)
2005Edward JasperOAK4.017.0 (nine)
2005Adewale OgunleyeCHI4.067.0 (10)
2005Calvin PaceARI4.052.0 (11)
2005Corey SmithSF4.08.5 (seven)
2005John EngelbergerDEN4.020.5 (nine)
2005Constantin RitzmannBUF4.00.0 (one)
2005Robert MathisIND4.0111.0 (11)
2004Ronald FlemonsMIA4.00.5 (three)
2004Dave BallSD4.015.5 (eight)
2004Shaun PhillipsSD4.079.5 (10)
2003Nate BollingBAL5.00.0 (zero)
2002Adewale OgunleyeMIA8.067.0 (10)


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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