Would you like to learn of yet another reason to be a fan of veteran right tackle Marcus Gilbert? The Pittsburgh Steelers’ former second-round pick has grown tremendously over the course of the past three seasons after getting off to a relatively inconsistent start to his career—largely due to injuries—in his first three seasons.
According to a graphic that Pro Football Focus posted earlier this morning, Gilbert was the most efficient pass protector at right tackle in the entire league a year ago, and the fifth-most overall, behind four of the premiere left tackles in today’s game.
The most efficient pass blockers among offensive tackles in 2016. pic.twitter.com/OQcnCDn8kr
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 27, 2017
PFF measures this out using a metric that they refer to as pass blocking efficiency, which is a cumulative percentage of all of the snaps in pass protection in which they were able to avoid allowing a sack, a hit, or a pressure.
For the purposes of this statistic, a sack is regarded as a full demerit, while hits and hurries, as they do not guarantee a failed play in and of itself, are regarded as a 75 percent demerit. In other words, four hits allowed would equate to three sacks allowed.
Gilbert recorded a pass blocking efficiency rating of 96.7 on 472 pass blocking snaps, on which he allowed pressure on 20 snaps. That means that he kept the pocket clean on 452 of 472 snaps, or over 95.7 of his snaps in pass protection.
And more importantly, that means that every other starting right tackle who recorded an eligible number of snaps in pass protection recorded a worse efficiency rating. His teammates and his coaches have already been campaigning for him to make the Pro Bowl for the past three seasons now, but this will only continue to add fuel to the fire.
Last season was no doubt his strongest case to make in terms of the snaps that he played, but as indicated by the snaps in pass protection below 500, he yet again was hindered by injury. Gilbert missed three starts with a foot injury and much of the game in which he was injured, which is close to a quarter of the year.
And that all occurred during the first half of the season, so all of that time missed could have quite possibly had an effect on his chances for making the Pro Bowl this season. Still, while he admits that it is something that he used to think about, the only accolade Gilbert is after at this point in his career is a Super Bowl ring.
Drafted in 2011, the Florida Gator turned 29 earlier this year, so he should certainly have a few good years left in him as he enters his seventh season with the team. Hopefully it will be another healthy campaign the way 2015 was.