Brandon Thorn is an offensive and defensive line analyst who is highly regarded in trench analysis. He runs Trench Warfare and ranked his top 50 trench players entering the 2021 season. He curated this list almost exclusively with his personal film studies, assessing their overall body of work until this point and a projection for expected performance in the 2021 season.
In an important piece of information, Thorn specifies that tiers are more important than actual rankings, so players inside each tier can be shifted around. Grady Jarrett was ranked 42nd in the fourth tier. He describes the fourth tier as very good/trending down, which he described Jarrett as very good and likely to remain there for the next few seasons.
Jarrett is an above average pass-rusher but an absolutely elite run-defender which evens out to an impact starter. Few guys are able to knife through blockers, blow up plays, and maintain gap integrity like Jarrett has done over the last several years, and he didn’t show any signs of slowing down last season.
Stephon Tuitt, Quinnen Williams, Jonathan Allen, Leonard Williams, DeForest Buckner, and Chris Jones were all ranked in the third and second tiers ahead of Jarrett — Aaron Donald is the only member of the first tier. According to ESPN Analytics, Jarrett ranked third (19%) in pass-rush win-rate among interior defenders behind Jones (20%) and Donald (24%) and ahead of guys like Quinnen Williams, Jonathan Allen, Stephon Tuitt, and DeForest Buckner.
Jarrett also ranks eighth (39%) in run-stop win-rate among interior defenders, which is better than every defender ranked ahead of Jarrett on Thorn’s list except for Quinnen Williams. In a more successful defense, Jarrett will be recognized more and more among the national media.