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Why 1-on-1 drills are telling for Packers' linemen, pass rushers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike Daniels summed up the one-on-one pass rushing/pass blocking drill this way:

"As unrealistic as it is, it's very honest," the Green Bay Packers defensive tackle said. "I know that's kind of an oxymoron."

Or perhaps here's a better way to put it: The drill doesn't lie.

It's why the Packers do it almost every day that they're in full pads during training camp.

With the help of Luke Stanke, a Green Bay native and PhD student at the University of Minnesota who also works as a data scientist for the Minneapolis Public Schools who we introduced you to in the summer of 2013, we've taken the results of each rep in the drill -- as scored by yours truly from the sideline -- and created an overall ranking (or RPI) of every player in the drill. It's a complicated formula that is based in part on win-loss record and in part on who a player beats or gets beat by in the drill.

Since Stanke first started helping me with the data in 2012, only one player who finished in the top 12 has failed to make the team. That was offensive lineman Ray Dominguez, who finished 10th in 2013.

It's no surprise that Daniels said he loves the drill. Of the defensive players who took at least 10 reps last year, he was the only one to finish with a winning record. In fact, over the last two seasons, he has a 25-23 mark. At 5-6 so far this year, he's on a similar pace.

"This drill is like, 'Look, let's just see if my move can beat your blocking style,'" Daniels said. "Sometimes you need those kind of drills because it's like, man this is unrealistic but it's going to make you better. It's unrealistic because it's you and a guy going one on one, and you're very rarely going to have that."

Note that there are no ties in this drill. The philosophy is there's a winner each time. If the defensive player's move would not result in a sack, a quarterback hit or a pressure, then the offensive player gets the win. Under that grading system, the drill is slanted toward the offense.

We’ll update these records as training camp goes on. But the chart below shows the results and rankings after the first week.