Some might argue that Missouri’s biggest commitment of the 2017-18 offseason did not come from a player set to join the Tigers’ roster, but one that was already on it.
I might argue that. I do argue that.
Terry Beckner coming back was the biggest coup for the 2018 Missouri football team. Yes, Drew Lock coming back was a nice touch as well, but he had less of a possibility of leaving than Beckner, so it was a bigger surprise when the Beckner domino fell. And before Lock’s, I might add.
Also, the offense was going to be good again this year regardless. Lock will make it demonstrably better than a replacement, yes, but the offense was never going to be an Achilles heel for the Tigers this season. The defense was.
And could very well still be. But Beckner coming back makes it less likely that the Tigers’ defense will regress, and his decision was especially valuable on a line that was losing three of its four starters to graduation.
So what can we expect of the highly touted tackle in his final go round?
As always, I try and make the numbers speak to me.
Beckner has played 52.8 percent of the Tigers’ defensive snaps in games in which he has actually participated during his Missouri career. He hovered around 45-46 percent for the first two years before ballooning up to 62 percent last year.
On a per-snap basis, he has logged a solo tackle once every 23.9 snaps, a total tackle (again, Bill Connelly definition) once every 16.9, a sack every 116.9, a tackle for loss every 55.7, a QB hurry every 116.9 and a pass defended every 292.3.
If we go back to the Activity and Carnage percentage figures I made up for Marcell Frazier, that computes to an Activity% of 7.1 and a Carnage% of 3.0. So, once every 14.1 snaps, Beckner has done something. Once every 33.4 snaps, he has done something disruptive.
His most active season? 2016, with an Activity% of 8.91. His most disruptive? 2015, with a Carnage% of 3.54.
But, in a bunch of more snaps last year, he ended up with a pretty comparable Carnage%. So he’s learned to extend his per-snap pace over more action.
Now how do we play this forward into projections for his senior year?
First, let’s get a baseline for total snaps. Taking the per-game play averages of Missouri’s 2018 opponents (and tacking another “average game” on for a bowl...why not...) we expect the Tigers’ defense to face about 845 plays.
Next, let’s estimate Beckner’s share of those 845 plays. I can’t see him playing much more than those 62.2 percent of the snaps from last year (66.7 percent in Power-5 games, 49 percent in non), but let’s add five percent to that just for fun. He’s better conditioned, right?
So that makes 51.5 percent of snaps in non-Power 5 games, 70.0 percent in Power-5 games: 555 snaps, or 65.7 percent total.
Now, let’s take his average Activity and Carnage rates, divvy them up over their stat categories in a career-informed manner and see what we get:
10% Below Worst-Year (5.55 Activity%, 1.75 Carnage%)
18 solo tackles, 15 assists (25.5 total tackles), 6 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 1 pass defended
5% Below Worst-Year (5.86 Activity%, 1.84 Carnage%)
19 solo tackles, 16 assists (27 total tackles), 6 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 1 pass defended
Worst-Year (6.17 Activity%, 1.94 Carnage%)
20 solo tackles, 17 assists (28.5 total tackles), 6.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 1 pass defended
Average (7.10 Activity%, 2.99 Carnage%)
23 solo tackles, 20 assists (33 total tackles), 10 TFL, 5 sacks, 5 QB hurries, 1 pass defended
Best-Year (8.91 Activity%, 3.54 Carnage%)
29 solo tackles, 24 assists (41 total tackles), 12 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 2 passes defended
5% Above Best-Year (9.36 Activity%, 3.72 Carnage%)
31 solo tackles, 24 assists (43 total tackles), 12 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 3 passes defended
10% Above Best-Year (9.80 Activity%, 3.89 Carnage%)
32 solo tackles, 26 assists (45 total tackles), 13 TFL, 6 sacks, 7 QB hurries, 3 passes defended
So how about it, sports fans? Would anywhere on that spectrum be an acceptable senior season for Beckner?
Here’s a little peek inside the numbers, too, if you’re interested: