LaMarr Woodley vs. James Harrison

May, 26, 2010
5/26/10
11:00
AM ET
Have you ever wanted to compare Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison?

Well, this week the AFC North blog took a trip to the lab and met with The Football Scientist KC Joyner from NFL Insider. It was interesting to see what data Joyner came up with on these two Pro Bowlers.

Beginning with splash plays in 2009, Woodley's 14.4 percent ranked ahead of Harrison and contemporaries Elvis Dumervil of the Denver Broncos and DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys.

Joyner defines splash plays as beating an offensive tackle in an one-on-one matchup to negatively impact the play. That includes (but not limited to) a quarterback sack, tipping the ball or causing a holding penalty.

Woodley had one less opportunity but made four more splash plays than Harrison, who came in at 11.9 percent. In terms of sack numbers, Woodley led the Steelers with 13.5, while Harrison recorded 10 sacks last season.

The second category Joyner studied was success at the point of attack. This is described as beating your blocker to make an impact when a play is designed to come your way.

Harrison, at 19.2 percent, was slightly better in this category than Woodley, who came in at 18.5 percent. Both numbers were stellar compared to fellow Pro Bowlers Ware (16.4 percent) and Dumervil, who struggled mightily at 3.3 percent.

To no surprise, Pittsburgh's run defense was rated No. 3 in the NFL last season. The Steelers also were No. 5 in total defense, thanks in large part to the strength of their bookend outside linebackers.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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