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Von Miller heads list of best pass rushers ahead of 2018 season

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NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2018" airs every Monday at 8 p.m. ET, unveiling a new set of 10 players each week. Landing at Nos. 74 and 76: defensive ends Cameron Wake and Melvin Ingram are two of the league's top-tier pass rushers right now. NFL Network analyst and former NFL outside linebacker Willie McGinest, who holds the record for career sacks in the playoffs (16), lists his own rankings of the top 10 pass rushers heading into the 2018 campaign.

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1

Von Miller, LB, Broncos

The Broncos have a generational pass rusher in Miller. He can't be stopped -- even when double-teamed -- because his ability to get off the ball is unmatched. (Seriously, he's so quick that it often looks like he's offsides.) Miller, who has 83.5 sacks in his seven-year career, is undoubtedly the most versatile pass rusher in the NFL -- and he's proven that, especially with his influence in the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 run. Rookie Bradley Chubb's presence will only allow him to feast even more in 2018.

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2

Aaron Donald, DT, Rams

Most elite pass rushers come off the edge, making Donald all the more impressive as a defensive tackle. The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year is extremely athletic and has a low center of gravity, giving Wade Phillips a disruptive playmaker up front. The explosive pass rusher has been exceptional so far, but should hit another level in his next contract ( we're waiting ...) with the offseason addition of Ndamukong Suh.

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3

Khalil Mack, LB, Raiders

Mack's combination of speed and power is so unrivaled when it comes to rushing the passer that it's not that far off when Derek Carr says Mack could rack up 30 sacks in a season. He's a beast on the edge and will continue being the cornerstone of the Raiders' defense for years to come.

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4

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings

Griffen started the 2017 season on a tear, racking up 10 sacks in the first eight games. After the team's Week 9 bye week, though, Griffen was hampered by a torn plantar fascia (suffered in Week 8) and only recorded a total of four sacks the remainder of the regular season and through the playoffs. Now healthy, I expect Griffen to hit his stride in 2018 and once again lead the best defense in the league. Entering his ninth season in the fall, Griffen has great edge, nice lean and good speed. Coupled with good balance and hands, he's a huge challenge to contain, even with help.

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5

J.J. Watt, DE, Texans

It's been reported that Watt is on schedule in his recovery but might not be a full participant until training camp (at the earliest). He's played just eight games in the last two seasons, but is still a major force for the Texans up front with his athleticism and explosiveness. Think about this: Watt came in at No. 35 in the "Top 100 Players of 2017" list after playing in three games the previous season, and he was No. 84 in the "Top 100 Players of 2018" after appearing in five games last year. The players still respect this three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

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6

Cameron Jordan, DE, Saints

In the Big Easy, Jordan does it all. He led a vastly improved Saints' defense with 13 sacks, 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an INT returned for a score last season. Jordan is a huge reason the Saints are contenders once again in the NFC. His size (6-foot-4, 287 pounds) makes it hard for offensive linemen to get their hands on and contain him. It's impressive that he's able to bend the way he does with his length.

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7

Chandler Jones, LB, Cardinals

No way I was going to leave Jones off this list after he led the league in sacks (17) in 2017. He enters his seventh NFL season as one of the more consistent pass rushers, but it almost goes unnoticed because of the Cardinals' lack of success since he's been there.

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8

Cameron Wake, DE, Dolphins

For the first time in his career, Wake put up 10-plus sacks in consecutive seasons. The 36-year-old has continued dominating in the trenches with great bend, balance and hands in his lean. He gets around the edge quickly and uses his strength to put pressure on the quarterback. With his style of play and talent, I'm not surprised he's averaging 10 sacks per season for his career.

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9

Melvin Ingram, DE, Chargers

A first-round draft pick in 2012, Ingram had a slow start to his career, with just six sacks in his first three seasons. He's been the utter opposite the last three, though, blossoming into a disruptive force with 29 sacks in that span. That's in part because Joey Bosa has played on the opposite end for two seasons, making this pair one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league.

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10

Calais Campbell, DE, Jaguars

It's not always about the numbers when it comes to being a dynamic pass rusher. Campbell has been a disruptive player for 10 years despite only having one season of double-digit sacks. During his first season in Jacksonville -- his only season away from Arizona to date -- Campbell had 14.5 sacks along with three passes defensed and three forced fumbles for the league's No. 2 overall defense. His presence on the D-line also allowed second-year pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue to rack up 12 sacks of his own. This pair should wreak havoc again this fall with the veteran leading the charge.

JUST MISSED: Joey Bosa, Chargers; DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys; Terrell Suggs, Ravens.

Follow Willie McGinest on Twitter @WillieMcGinest.

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