The Top 5 Edge Players in the NFL

In today’s NFL, pass rushers are worth a premium. Every club wants one, and most don’t have a dominant pass rusher. For that reason, come draft day, players with edge pass rush ability go high. With multiple defenses the way they are, the top edge pass rushers may be 4-3 defensive ends or they may be 3-4 outside linebackers who line up as a defensive end in pass rush situations, so I have grouped those players together in this ranking. Justin Houston - OLB – Kansas City You think pass rushers aren’t worth a lot of money? Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs and Justin Houston. Last week, Houston signed a six year contract worth $101 Million, with $52 Million of that money guaranteed. Right now, Houston is the best pass rusher in the NFL. He had a league high 22.0 sacks in 2014. That followed an 11.0 sack season in only 11 games in 2013. Not bad for a third round draft choice! Houston has a combination of size, speed, power, and moves that make him very difficult to block when he is coming off the edge. Scarier, he is just 26 years old and going into his fifth season. We haven’t seen the best of him yet. Mario Williams – OLB/DE – Buffalo In his time in Buffalo, Williams has played both defensive end and outside linebacker depending on the scheme of the current coordinator. In 2013, he was an OLB in a 3-4. Last year, he was a DE in a 4-3. This year, he will most likely be a combination of the two in Rex Ryan’s multi-front scheme. No matter what the scheme, Williams has been productive. There was a time early in his career when many in the league felt Williams underachieved. That is no longer the case, and he can dominate a game as well as anyone. Last year, Williams had 14.5 sacks. The previous two seasons he had 13.0 and 10.0. At 30 years of age and entering his 10th season, Williams might be in the back nine of his career, but he still can control games and has freakish size and overall athleticism. Clay Matthews – OLB/ILB – Green Bay Matthews might not have the numbers of some of the others on the list, but ask an offensive coordinator who they fear the most on the Green Bay defense, and they will tell you Matthews. Last year, midway through the season, Matthews was moved inside because of injuries to other players. He still had outside pass responsibilities on passing downs but not as much as before. Even with the move, he proved effective, finishing the year with 11.0 sacks. Injuries have hurt Matthews overall totals, as he has missed games in four of the last five seasons. Still, when healthy, he is a dominating player who has to be accounted for. In four of his six seasons in the NFL, he has reached a double digit sack total. Elvis Dumervil – OLB – Baltimore When you draw up the prototype of the perfect edge pass rusher, there is no way you will have someone like Dummervil. At 5’11 – 255, he is not the ideal physically. When you put on the tape, it’s a different story. Dumervil is very strong and explosive, with long arms for his height. He knows how to play with leverage and has outstanding hand use and moves. The former fourth round pick by Denver has been productive as a pass rusher for both the Broncos and the Ravens. Last year, Dumervil finished the year with 17.0 sacks. That followed a 9.5 sack season his first year in Baltimore. In his last three seasons in Denver, Dumervil totaled 37.5 sacks. As you can see, he is one of the most consistent pass rushers around. One thing is certain, he may lack height, but your team better be ready because Dumervil has to be accounted for when game planning. Von Miller – OLB –Denver If it wasn’t for injuries and a suspension, Von Miller may have been higher on this list. He is another player that has to be accounted for on every play. Miller has only played four seasons, but he already has 49 career sacks. That’s with missing 6 games in 2103 and a game in 2011. While Dumervil may not be the typical outside pass rusher, Miller looks the part. He is 6’3 – 250 with great length, speed, power and explosion. If Miller stays clean, he may end up being one of the best pass rushers of all time. He has the physical tools to be an all-time great. Just Missed Out In another year, this list could change some. Other players that I gave serious consideration to were Cameron Wake of Miami, Ryan Kerrigan of Washington and Robert Quinn of the Rams. All very easily could be on this list and deservedly so. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Upcoming Games

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

Pittsburgh +4.5 -110

Baltimore -4.5 -110

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

Minnesota +6 -110

Green Bay -6 -110

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

NY Jets +19.5 -110

Kansas City -19.5 -110

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

Indianapolis -3 -115

Detroit +3 -115

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

Tennessee -7 -110

Cincinnati +7 -110

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas +2.5 -110

Cleveland -2.5 -110

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

New England +4 -110

Buffalo -4 -110

@

Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

LA Rams -3.5 -110

Miami +3.5 -110

@

Nov 1st, 4:05 PM

LA Chargers -3 +100

Denver +3 +100

@

Nov 1st, 4:25 PM

San Francisco +3 +100

Seattle -3 +100

@

Nov 1st, 4:25 PM

New Orleans -5 -110

Chicago +5 -110

@

Nov 1st, 8:20 PM

Dallas +11 -110

Philadelphia -11 -110

@

Nov 2nd, 8:15 PM

Tampa Bay -13 -110

NY Giants +13 -110

@

Nov 5th, 8:20 PM

Green Bay 0 -110

San Francisco 0 -110

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Carolina +10 -123

Kansas City -10 -123

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Detroit +1.5 -110

Minnesota -1.5 -110

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Chicago +6.5 -105

Tennessee -6.5 -105

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Seattle -1.5 +100

Buffalo +1.5 +100

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Denver +3.5 -110

Atlanta -3.5 -110

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Baltimore -4 -110

Indianapolis +4 -110

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

Houston -4 -110

Jacksonville +4 -110

@

Nov 8th, 1:00 PM

NY Giants +3.5 -110

Washington -3.5 -110

@

Nov 8th, 4:05 PM

Las Vegas +2.5 -120

LA Chargers -2.5 -120

@

Nov 8th, 4:25 PM

Miami +5 -110

Arizona -5 -110

@

Nov 8th, 4:25 PM

Pittsburgh -9.5 -111

Dallas +9.5 -111

@

Nov 8th, 8:20 PM

New Orleans +4 -110

Tampa Bay -4 -110

@