2022 NFL Edge Rusher Rankings and Tiers | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

    There have been few NFL climates as good as the current one for pass rushers. the league has responded to the increased volume and production of the passing game with defenders who can affect the game with pressure. Rarely has the game seen so many productive and impactful frontrunners playing at the same time.

    Here, we are going to classify them into levels. Unlike other positions, this will leave out a lot of quality defenders, but such is the depth in the current league.

    level 1: dpoy candidates

    1. tj watt, pittsburgh steelers
    2. myles garrett, cleveland browns
    3. khalil mack, chargers of the angels
    4. micah parsons, dallas cowboys
    5. joey bosa, los angeles chargers
    6. maxx crosby, las vegas raiders
    7. nick bosa, san francisco 49ers

    Few arguments in the NFL are as explosive as the one surrounding who is the best running back: T.J. watt or myles garrett. Watt is the reigning defensive player of the year, but Garrett posted the best PFF rating and pressure rate and had several other stats going in his favor last season. Ultimately, both players are phenomenal and have been for several years, but Watt gets the top spot in the rankings simply by keeping up with him over a longer series of games.

    between a suspension for hitting mason rudolph with his own helmet and a bout of covid-19 mitigating his effectiveness for a stretch of the 2020 season, garrett just hasn’t been able to keep up the brilliant streak of play watt has had as length of a span. however, in any game or even season, garrett is very capable of being better.

    For the past two seasons, these two frontrunners have been ranked no. 1 and no. 2 in grade pff, with only a tenth of a grade point separating them (91.9 for garrett to 91.8 for watt). they rank first and third in pass-rush win rate, and no running back has more sacks than watt.

    khalil mack continues to be among the best rim defenders in the league and has the highest run defense rating of any rim runner the past two seasons (90.6).

    micah parsons was a true defensive player of the year candidate last season as a rookie thanks in large part to his pass rushing prowess. Seemingly still an off-the-ball linebacker, Parsons generated the best rushing rate of any pass-rusher in the league (22.4%) and was doing it like a true running back, rather than just taking advantage of favorable matchups against running backs. Parsons may not play as much of a rusher, but he’s already proven that he’s an elite one if he lines up there.

    the bosa brothers have become the dominant forces in the nfl just as they were in college, with not much separating them. Both boast elite pff ratings and elite pressure totals during their NFL careers and are candidates for dominant seasons anytime.

    maxx crosby had a truly standout 2021 season and led the nfl in rushing, becoming only the third player to post 100+ in a season since 2006 (101). Crosby faced a very weak streak of right tackles all season, but still remained just as productive against better opposition. he now he needs to show that it was not an unexpected moment.

    level 2: young riders with great potential

    8. brian burns, carolina panthers
    9. rashan gary, green bay packers
    10. persecutes the young commanders of washington

    These runners have shown elite potential, but now they need to get going and join the first tier of truly dominant players on a consistent basis. The injury robbed us of a decent chunk of Chase Young’s second season, but even before that point, he wasn’t capitalizing on his excellent rookie season, with lower PFF ratings and pressure rates. Young was arguably the best pass rushing prospect to enter the NFL since at least Garrett, and now he needs to prove he deserved praise.

    Rashan Gary finally realized his immense potential last season, earning an overall rating of 89.3 pff, which was good enough to crack the top five at the position. Gary had 81 pressures, more than his previous two seasons combined, and now it looks like he could make a difference going forward.

    brian burns has already reached that level, but it is proof of how dangerous it can be to assume that it will continue in a linear fashion. after posting double-digit sacks in 2020 and an 86.9 pff rushing rating, his rating dipped to 73.1 and he had six fewer pressures despite more than 50 additional rushing opportunities. Burns has an elite dash skill, but he needs to get back to the best game of him.

    level 3: injuries/other concerns

    11. danielle hunter, minnesota vikings
    12. carl lawson, new york jets
    13. randy gregory, denver broncos
    14. za’darius smith, minnesota vikings

    Danielle Hunter has proven to be an elite pass-rusher in her prime, but now she’s battled injuries for several seasons in a row. We’ve seen just seven games and 334 snaps from Hunter since his dominant 2019 season, and while he’s still just 27 years old, that injury history is a concern until he can return to the kind of game that saw him rack up 88 pressures in a single season.

    Similarly, Carl Lawson was a great acquisition for the Jets as a free agent a year ago, but he tore his Achilles tendon before he could take the field. he has the potential to be a top-tier pass-rusher, with pass-rusher ratings above 80.0 in two of the last three years, but an Achilles tendon injury is a major red flag for a player whose position hinges on explosiveness.

    za’darius smith also missed most of last season before finally returning to the packers late in the year for his playoff run. He needs to show that he can return to his league-leading pressure performance, this time in Minnesota.

    Randy Gregory’s concern isn’t so much injuries as suspensions, given his history. He’s been on the right track lately, but it would be hard to completely ignore his career before the past two years of standout play, or the fact that his NFL resume includes only 1,474 NFL snaps, only about half. of which have been in addition to playing.

    Level 4: Undervalued Veterans

    15. cameron jordan, new orleans saints
    16. demarcus lawrence, dallas cowboys
    17. arik armstead, san francisco 49ers
    18. haason reddick, philadelphia eagles
    19. shaquil barrett, tampa bay buccaneers
    20. trey hendrickson, cincinnati flares
    21. john franklin-myers, new york jets

    cameron jordan has spent a career being underrated, even despite going to seven pro bowls. he’s been a first-team all-pro just once, but there was a period of several years where he had a good claim to be the best edge defender in the game. his overall pff rating hasn’t dipped below 80.0 since 2015.

    demarcus lawrence is underrated due to low sack totals over his past three seasons, but his pressure ratings, run defense prowess and pff ratings have remained elite. sometimes the bags come with those data points and sometimes they don’t. Lawrence remains an elite playmaker when he is healthy.

    trey hendrickson backed up his career year in new orleans with another in cincinnati, justifying a high-buy free agent signing the team made with a player who was coming off career highs in grades and sacks . hendrickson constantly generates pressure and has been good at converting them into sacks.

    john franklin-meyers may never generate many sacks, but he has scored 50 or more pressures in each of the last two seasons and his pff rating has improved each year of his career. With more help around him on the defensive line, he could be in line for another career year that could earn him a little more recognition.

    level 5: diminishing forces

    22. von miller, buffalo bills
    23. chandler jones, las vegas raiders
    24. jerry hughes, houston texans
    25. jj watt, arizona cardinals
    26. brandon graham, philadelphia eagles
    27. melvin ingram, miami dolphins
    28. robert quinn, chicago bears

    We saw last season that Miller still has some juice. He enjoyed his first double-digit pressure game in several years and posted a 93.0 PFF rating during the Rams’ playoff run to a Super Bowl. Miller may be a declining force, but he is declining from the position of being the best running back of his generation, so he has a lot of room to fail and remain a major problem for opposing offenses. /p>

    chandler jones’ career defense is slipping, but his last two predominantly healthy years featured at least 87.7 rushing ratings and he posted double-digit sacks in each. he can still chase the quarterback, but at this point in his career, he may have sacrificed his ability to be a versatile player to maintain that level. his defense rating against the pff run was only 40.4 last season.

    jerry hughes is pretty much guaranteed 50 pressure for any defense he’s on, even at this age. he scored 55 on tickets last season and has averaged that number over the past nine years. hughes is still an effective edge runner.

    A lot falls on the shoulders of j.j. Watt, as the Cardinals let Jones go this offseason and only replaced him with developing rookies in the middle rounds of the draft. watt can still be very effective when healthy, but that becomes a bigger warning with each passing season.

    level 6: need to live up to potential

    29. marcus davenport, new orleans saints
    30. montez sudor, washington commanders
    31. jadeveon clown, cleveland browns
    32. matthew judon, new england patriots

    marcus davenport put together a career year in 2021, but he has yet to emerge as a truly dominant force on all downs, which is what he needed to become to justify the draft trade the saints made to acquire him in the first place. . Davenport has played more than 500 snaps in a season just once in four years and has never recorded more than 51 pressures in a single season. those are solid numbers, but he needs to do more than solid, and he seems capable of doing it.

    jadeveon clowney has been looking for a long-term, big-money contract for years, but never manages to win one. He is capable of playing elite stretches, but they never hold up, and his overall pff rating has dropped every season since he left Houston.

    montez sweat has been an excellent career defender in the nfl and showed his pass-rushing potential, but he needs to build him more consistently.

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