Breaking down the Redskins defensive line depth chart for 2019
By Ian Cummings
Redskins rotational starter
It feels wrong to place Matt Ioannidis in a different tier than Payne and Allen, because in truth, he’s far closer to them as he is to Tim Settle and Caleb Brantley. In fact, while Payne and Allen have better all-around skill sets, Ioannidis is very clearly the best interior pass rusher of the group.
Jonathan Allen barely beat out Ioannidis for the interior line sack title last season, amassing 8.0 quarterback takedowns, to Ioannidis’ 7.5. But look at the context, and Ioannidis’ numbers suddenly become far more impressive. Per Pro Football Focus, Allen needed 466 pass rush snaps to log his sacks, on 35 pressures. Ioannidis, meanwhile, only needed 275 pass rush snaps to almost match Allen. He also exceeded Allen by one pressure, with 36.
It’s hard to say whether or not Ioannidis’ quality of play would suffer if he was given a larger workload. But Jim Tomsula has clearly brought him a long way from when he first entered the league as a fifth-round pick. Ioannidis was once cut by the team and re-signed to the practice squad. Now, he’s coming off a season in which he logged a pass rush productivity rating of 13.1, on par with some of the league’s best interior linemen (Geno Atkins – 13.0, Chris Jones – 13.9, Jurrell Casey – 9.5).
With a poetic combination of power and athleticism, Matt Ioannidis has morphed into a game wrecker on the defensive line. Fresh off a contract extension, Ioannidis should be primed to keep producing.