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Football Outsiders‘ SackSEER Likes Atlanta Falcons Draft Pick John Cominsky


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Football Outsiders’ statistical system for projecting college edge rushers to the next level, SackSEERlikes John Cominsky, the fourth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons. SackSEER includes combine measurements and college production. It spits out two projections.

  • SackSEER projection projects the number of regular season sacks that a prospect will record in his first five seasons in the NFL.
  • SackSEER rating provides a historical percentile rating on the college edge rusher’s prospects for success as compared to the other prospects in SackSEER’s database, irrespective of projected draft position.

For the year 2019, SackSEER really liked obvious players like Brian Burns and Josh Allen. Both are projected to make over 26 sacks in their first five years. But SackSEER also includes late round prospects, so let’s see where fourth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons ranked.

John Cominsky Grades Favorably in SackSEER Projection

SackSEER projection 2019 (ranks 9 – 13)

EDGE College SackSEER Projection Rank Round taken EDGE rank
L.J. Collier Texas Christian 16.6 9 1 7
Jachai Polite Florida 15.7 10 3 10
John Cominsky Charleston 13.7 11 4 18
Chase Winovich Michigan 13.5 12 3 11
Ben Banogu Texas Christian 12.2 13 2 8
Cominsky is a borderline top 10 edge rusher in this draft class, according to SackSEER projection. The players he compares most closely to all went during the first two days of the draft. Getting the 11th best player at the position as the 18th taken off the board is a steal.

SackSEER Rating: A Top Three prospect?

But Cominksy shines even more when looking at SackSEER rating. The reason for this is that SackSEER projections include the projected round in which a player is likely to be taken. Amassing sacks is easier when you are starting early. Projected first-round draft picks therefore naturally have a higher SackSEER projection. In some sense, Cominsky’sprojected 13.7 sacks are deflated because he was projected as a fifth rounder and therefore was unlikely to be a starter.

This will apply to his real situation in Atlanta, where he has three more experienced EDGE players ahead of him on the depth chart. But let’s take a look at his SackSEER rating nevertheless.

SackSEER rating 2019 (ranks 1 – 5)

EDGE College SackSEER Rating Rank Round taken EDGE rank
Brian Burns Florida State 96.1% 1 1 5
Montez Sweat Mississippi State 89.7% 2 1 6
John Cominsky Charleston 88.8% 3 4 18
Josh Allen Kentucky 85.7% 4 1 3
Ben Banogu Texas Christian 85.6% 5 2 8

When disregarding his small school background which likely led to his draft position, SackSEER likes Cominsky a lot. He is among the best pass rushers in the class. His rating is particularly boosted by his great passes defensed rate. This metric projects future NFL success really well among EDGE players.

SackSEER History

How much can we trust a metric like SackSEER? It’s usually pretty good at projecting players. SackSEER has predicted success for current stars Von Miller, Khalil Mack, and Justin Houston, plus later-round sleepers such as Jared Allen. SackSEER has also identified several high-profile busts, including Dion Jordan, Marcus Smith, and Jarvis Jones.

Their 2015 edition really liked Vic Beasley at a 95.7 percent rating, and projected him to have 34 sacks through five years. With one year left, Vic has 29.5 sacks, which seems pretty spot on. It also predicted Preston Smith to have more sacks than both Shane Rayand Dante Fowler, even though those two were higher regarded before the draft and went earlier than Smith.

Their 2017 edition was cautious about Takk McKinley due to his poor three-cone, but they still seemed to get right that he was a better prospect than Taco Charlton or Charles Harris who both went in the same range.

Naturally, being a late rounder despite the clear upside does pose a challenge for Cominsky. Teams are usually not overlooking a clear-cut star for so long. I went and looked at other players similar to Cominsky. I was looking for a high SackSEER rating (over 85%) but players that were projected to go later than round two.

SackSEER Sleepers?

SackSEER Sleepers (2014 – 2019)

EDGE College Year Projected Round Round
SackSEER  Rating SackSEER Projection Actual Sacks on pace
Kareem Martin North Carolina 2014 3 3 90.8% 18.1 6
Davis Tull Chattanooga 2015 3-4 5 89.5% 17.8 0
Dean Lowry Northwestern 2016 7-UDFA 4 90.8% 6.6 12
Bronson Kaufusi BYU 2016 3-4 3 90.8% 14.9 0
Trey Hendrickson Florida Atlantic 2017 3-4 3 90.0% 15.7 5
Josh Sweat Florida State 2018 4 4 89.5% 15.9 0
John Cominsky Charleston 2019 5 4 88.8% 13.7 ?
Ben Banogu Texas Christian 2019 5 2 85.6% 12.2 ?

While the idea of Cominsky being a great sleeper pick according to SackSEER is intriguing, we have to pump our breaks in expecting too much. The track record of SackSEER sleepers taken after Day 1 is thin. Only Dean Lowry qualifies as a success story.

Falcons EDGE type: The Pass Defender?

While SackSEER likes Cominsky, it did not always like Falcons edge rusher prospects. However, putting together all recent Falcons edge defenders featured in SackSEER reveals a nice footnote. They all are pretty good at the passes defensed rate I already mentioned above.

Passes Defensed per College Game
Falcons EDGE draft picks 2012-2019

EDGE College Year PD/G In-year Rank HC
Jonathan Massaquoi Troy 2012 0.12 13 Mike Smith
Mallicah Goodman Clemson 2013 0.07 21
Vic Beasley Clemson 2015 0.19 6 Dan Quinn
Takk McKinley UCLA 2017 0.36 2
John Cominsky Charleston 2019 0.25 4

Jonathan Massaquoi’s P.D. rate has an asterisk though, as explained in the SackSEER 2012piece: “Passes defensed are much more subjective statistics than sacks and tackles, and it would not be surprising to find that passes defensed were awarded inconsistently from team to team. In fact, the biggest misses for the pass defensed metric both went to Troy: DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora.”

Considering Thomas Dimitroff also signed Umenyiora in free agency, it is possible that this was always a very important aspect of his evaluation of EDGE players. However, there is a noticeable increase in attention to passes defensed when Dan Quinn became head coach in 2015. Since then they have also added Derrick Shelby as a free agent, whose 0.28 rate ranked him third among the 2012 class. Jack Crawford’s 0.23 rate ranked him fourth in that same class.

Dueling The Cowboys

Having active hands might have been the one aspect that compelled the Falcons to nab Cominsky via trade-up. Maybe P.D. rate is the secret as to why the Falcons jump so often ahead of the Cowboys for EDGE players. Since Rod Marinelli became the defensive line coach for Dallas in 2013, the Cowboys have drafted only two players with a P.D. rate below 0.14. Demarcus Lawrence and Taco Charlton are the exceptions, while the other five draft picks average a 0.21 rate.

Now, remember that the Cowboys settled for Charlton because the Falcons traded up for the 0.36 P.D. rate of Takk. They were also looking at Emmanuel Ogbah at the top of the second round in 2015. He had a 0.23 rate. This all hints towards P.D. rate being a very important measure for both Quinn and Marinelli. This explains why they look at similar players to try to beat each other to the punch.

To sum up: SackSEER likes John Cominsky. And Keeping P.D. rate in mind when evaluating EDGE players seems like a good way to project possible Falcons fits under Dan Quinn.

Seems like SackSEER is a big Cominksy fan, compared to where he was drafted. Cominsky could grow into a hybrid DL that DQ likes and be a good piece on the DL.

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1 hour ago, falcons007 said:

In 2015, The sleeper picks never started a game and one ended in Arena Football and the other in AAF.  Sack Seer projected Frank Clark with 5 sacks in 5 years, 20 for Daniele Hunter.  Hope and pray they are right with sleeper picks in 2019. 


They predicted less than 14 in 5 years for him. Hardly an absurd overprediction. Think it's better to look at data as a whole instead of exceptions. Cominsky is an obvious project

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10 hours ago, Francis York Morgan said:

They predicted less than 14 in 5 years for him. Hardly an absurd overprediction. Think it's better to look at data as a whole instead of exceptions. Cominsky is an obvious project

My point is just roll the dice and pray with the prospects. Most of the sleeper picks aren’t even in NFL past the 53 man squad. I do see higher ceiling for Cominsky though, he might end up with 14 or even more.

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