In today’s game, an edge rusher has enormous importance in both the offensive and defensive end. Hence, do you want to know who the best NFL edge rushers are?
Well, worry not, as this article will be discussing the 15 best NFL edge rushers. The primary role of an edge rusher is to create space for the runner or tackle the runner.
Depending on the play, they can either be 4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers. Therefore, initiating a pathway or stopping the ball, they do it all.
They are the heroes behind the screen as they aren’t often seen touching the balls but are seen creating plays to take advantage of the game.
It doesn’t just take athleticism to be recognized as the best NFL edge rusher; instead requires proper use of one’s assets and game IQ.
Hence without further due, let’s get right into knowing the 15 best NFL edge rushers.
Ranking 15 Best NFL Edge Rushers
The best NFL edge rushers mentioned below are assembled based on speed, tackles, getting off the ball, and dominance.
Further, before jumping into the details about the 15 best NFL edge rushers, let us quickly view the names present in the list.
|15. Za’Darius Smith||Green Bay Packers|
|14. Robert Quinn||Chicago Bears|
|13. Calais Campbell||Baltimore Ravens|
|12. Frank Clark||Kansas City Chiefs|
|11. JJ Watt||Houston Texans|
|10. Danielle Hunter||Minnesota Vikings|
|9. Cameron Jordan||New Orleans Saints|
|8. Chase Young||Washington Football Team|
|7. Chandler Jones||Arizona Cardinals|
|6. Nick Bosa||San Francisco 49ers|
|5. Khalil Mack||Chicago Bears|
|4. Joey Bosa||Los Angeles Chargers|
|3. T.J. Watt||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2. Myles Garrett||Cleveland Browns|
|1. Von Miller||Denver Broncos|
15. Za’Darius Smith
Za’Darius Smith is a solid role player who is also a two-time pro bowler. Further, he was drafted in the fourth round as the 122nd pick by the Baltimore Ravens.
It took him some time but, Smith developed into a great outside linebacker. Initially, the player filled the role of a weakside linebacker.
As a result, we didn’t see his dynamic performance from the start. However, his contribution was very fruitful regardless of it being unnoticed.
The Ravens’ linebacker didn’t make headlines until the start of the 2018 season as he recorded three sacks.
Hence, the league named him the Defensive Player of the Week. Furthermore, Smith led Baltimore in sacks that season alongside recording career-high 45 combined tackles.
Despite his excellence, the linebacker was not very happy with his role. As a result, he signed with the Packers in the 2019 season.
This decision proved to be worth a while for the player in his first season. He finished with a career-high of 13.5 sacks.
14. Robert Quinn
Robert Quinn is a physical freak who can outrun anybody in the league. His length compared with his strength makes him one of the best NFL edge rushers.
Quinn had his best career season with the Los Angeles Rams and is moving from one team to another.
However, he still has the same explosiveness on his feet. Further, with his experiences over the years, Quinn will undoubtedly revive his career very soon.
Nonetheless, the biggest issue is his contract which is for five years $70 million guarantees him $30 million.
Hence, since the teams have been highly affected by the pandemic, their cap space is very low.
Furthermore, there are fewer teams that are willing to pay Quinn that money. As a result, this limits his performance as no better teams are willing to use his ability.
Nevertheless, if he has a breakout year this season, NFL teams are sure to keep an eye on him.
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13. Calais Campbell
Calais Campbell is a talented athlete who knows how to get the job done no matter what. He is an expert in getting loose from the defense for tackles.
It looks almost impossible for a big guy like Campbell to slip from his defender with ease. No one is going to believe he does that until and unless they see his game.
Of course, his strength comes in the conversation while getting loose, but his feet work, and his ability to get low despite his large size is the one that surprises everyone.
To elaborate, in 2017, Campbell finished with a career-high 14.5 sacks. As a result, fans renamed the Jacksonville Jaguars the Sacksonville Jaguar, referring to Campbell’s sacks.
12. Frank Calrk
Frank Calrk is a defensive asset that every team would be targeting in free agency. He is a powerhouse of energy, intensity, and explosiveness.
After the Kansans City Chefs failed to make the Super Bowl in 2018, they signed Calrk to strengthen their defense.
Frank, “the shark,” had a fantastic season with the Cheifs. He not only helped them win the Super Bowl LIV but made everyone realize to never sleep on him.
In the 2019 season, Calrk recorded eight sacks, four passes defended, three forced fumbles, and one interception.
He will undoubtedly be a massive problem in the coming years if he keeps up his play.
11. JJ Watt
The former three-time defensive player might have slowed down since his glory days but hasn’t stopped feeding on opponents.
JJ Watt is still the same beast with the mentality of getting past his defender no matter what. With his size to his advantage, JJ is tough to contain.
Therefore, he was a two-time NFL sacks leader in 2012 and 2015. His game might not look as explosive as it was back in his prime, but he still has the fundamentals.
Undoutabley, JJ is one of the most outstanding defensive linemen in the league’s history. He is the Texans’ franchise leader in sacks and forced fumbles, a record that might never be broken.
Further, with the Cardinals acquiring him, we might get to see something out of the box from what we usually used to see from him.
10. Danielle Hunter
It seems almost impossible for a 6 foot 5 inch, 263 lb player to be as fast as Danielle Hunter.
He is the fastest and strongest player in NFL history to register a 40-yard dash in just 4.57 seconds. Moreover, the athlete is freakishly athletic as he recorded a 10 ft 10.5-inch board jump.
Likewise, a 36.5-inch vertical jump is so insane for a player his size. Besides, being athletic the player is super intelligent and crafty.
Hunter reads the defensive play well and formulates a perfect plan to fumble or tackle the ball.
There is just no stopping this player as he will spin, overpower or sneak his way to stop the offensive play.
Even when the NFL player is getting double team, Hunter makes his way out and gets the job done in no time.
Therefore, he is the youngest player in the league’s history to have recorded 50 sacks.
9. Cameron Jordan
Cameron Jordan has been with the New Orleans Saints enough to become the team’s defensive culture.
He was drafted by the Saints in the 2011 draft as the 24th pick in the first round. Since then, Jordan has been with the team and is actively leading the team in defensive stops.
The defensive end is the powerhouse for the very vocal team and can back up his talk. As a result, he had a career-high of 15 sacks in the previous season.
Jordan is very reliable, as he has shown through multiple constant games. So if you ever watch a saint game in the future, be sure to keep an eye on Cam Jordan thoroughly.
He will mesmerize you with the plays and the arsenal of moves that he has in his backpack. Being a huge guy, he slips through the defender to record a sack.
Further, Jordan is a six-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade team.
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8. Chase Young
Chase Young is great, but one thing that makes him stand out is that he is a rookie. He is so much explosive to the point that it’s scary to watch him play defense.
If none were to mention that Young is a rookie, many would surely assume him to be in his prime. Yes, that’s how good of an impact this player has over the game.
Even during his collegiate career, he set a career-high record of 16.5 sacks in a single season. Therefore, NCCA named him the unanimous All-American.
Similarly, he also received various defensive titles alongside being named the Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year.
Hence, it was already clear that Young would be a lottery pick as he decided to enter the 2020 NFL draft.
Therefore, the Washington Football team drafted Chase in the 2020 draft as the second pick in the first round.
With leading all the rookies in sacks and forced fumbles, NFL awarded the defensive end with the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
After seeing his dynamic performance, many have already bet on him to become the future NFL defensive player of the year.
7. Chandler Jones
While Chandler Jones might not be a big name amongst fans, he certainly is a massive name among NFL players.
Especially in the NFC West, where he is wreaking havoc among the defenders as none seem to stop him. He is very crafty when it comes to getting the job done.
Jone is a hard rusher who knows precisely how to use his asset to his advantage. Therefore, rarely do you see him get shut out by linebackers.
He is one of those guys who is focused on fumbling the ball rather than sacking the quarterback. Therefore, he leads the league in 17 forced fumbles.
Further, he has also led the leagues with his 60 sacks since he joined the Cardinals.
6. Nick Bosa
It is rare to see a rookie making so much noise so early, but that’s not the case for Nick Bosa. Bosa was drafted in 2019 as the 2nd pick in the first round by the 49ers.
Hence, you might already have an idea of which caliber the player ranks in. With just playing over three seasons in the NFL, he has already spread fear in his opponents.
Even the league has recognized his abilities as a top-tier player. Therefore, NFL has ranked him #17 amongst the Top 100 NFL players on the 2020 list.
Maybe it runs in his family as his older brother Joey Bosa (ranks #4) is also a great defender. However, there is a huge debate regarding which Bosa’s brother is the best.
Due to Nick asserting his dominance so early in the league, many players and fans believe he is the better of the two.
For instance, Bosa captured the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season by recording nine sacks in one season.
Not to mention, Nick’s arrival also improved the 49ers’ defense so well that they even reached the Super Bowl LIV.
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5. Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack is a definite future Hall of Famer, his ability to read the offensive play is his most remarkable ability.
Mack is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who is also a six-time Pro Bowler. Not to mention, the league has also inducted him into the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.
Besides that, the Bears’ have named him one of the Top 100 players in the Chicago Bears franchise history.
Interestingly, Khalil Mack, who ranked 60th on the list, had just played one season with the Bears.
Therefore, you might have a picture of how amazing of a player he is. The Oakland Raiders drafted Mack as the 5th pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Hence, he has certainly lived up to his hype of being one of the best in the league. Further, the athlete plays the role of outside linebacker and defensive end.
As a result, he became the first person in NFL history to have been selected as a first-team All-Pro in both outside linebacker and defensive end.
4. Joey Bosa
Joey Bosa is undoubtedly one of the best edge rushers of the current generation. He has so many unpredictable moves that none can figure out.
When Bosa is on the field, the player is just in the mood to contrast attacking. Further, the athlete is very crafty with his hands as he blocks his opponents with ease.
If the opponents are not aware of him at all times, then Bosa will undoubtedly make them pay.
But even if the opponents are aware of him, he will still make them pay with his speed and long arms.
Bosa’s arms are his most significant asset, allowing him to quickly stop defenders and get enough space to work around them to record a fumble.
3. T.J. Watt
However, he did win the AFC Defensive Player of the Year award. Nonetheless, the entire league was ready to see Watt finally getting what he deserved.
After averaging 3.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, nine tackles, and one interception, Watt became a three-time AFC Defensive Player of the month.
Further, he was having a phenomenal season while leading the league in sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits.
Therefore, the league was shocked to know that Watt finished second in the line. Many even question the voting committee as to their criteria for choosing a worthy player.
Nevertheless, this season might be the one where he bags the defensive player award. He is a very deserving candidate for the title, as he is a freak on the field.
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2. Myles Garrett
Myles Garret is the meanest edge rusher on the list. At 6 foot 4 inches, he is 272 lb and still outruns everyone in the field.
It is just amazing to see a guy that size be that fast, flexible, and athletic. It is very simple; no one can stop Myles from going to point A to point B.
If you’re not double-teaming or sliding help for the linebacker, your offense is done for the night. Garrett will find a way to deliver as a sack no matter what.
Myles is the guy who is going to pick the defender and still be fast enough to stop the play. So, the next time you’re in a Browns game, be sure to check out Garrett.
He will blow your mind with the explosiveness he presents during game time.
1. Von Miller
Every linebacker has the same question in their mind while playing against Von Miller’s team, which is how to stop Von.
No one is going to step up and give an idea on that question. Even if you ask Bill Belichick, the greatest defensive coach, you will not receive an answer.
Guys double his size seem to get weaker while facing him. There is no one who is better in pass rushing and as disruptive as Miller.
Everyone is not built the same, and a living example of that statement is Von. He is very lightweight, which is a huge advantage in terms of speed and getting loose.
Despite being lean, he can not be overpowered by anyone; his strength is unusual compared to his size. Therefore, recording a sack is very easy for him.
Hence, he is the career sacks leader amongst all the active edge rushers in the league. Moreover, the eight-time Pro Bowler is a definite future Hall of Famer.
Hands down, Miller is one of the best NFL edge rushers to have played the game of football.
Edge rushers are provided with one of the hardest tasks, which is to tackle the quarterback as soon as possible.
And if you think it’s easy then, you know nothing about NFL. However, these 15 best NFL edge rushers have shown that no task is impossible to execute.
As a result, let’s appreciate the individuals who give it all to make that game interesting as we know it to be.