Last week, I unveiled my top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. This week, I present to you the men who are determined to make the lives of NFL quarterbacks an absolute misery. Here are my top 10 pass rushers in the league, regardless of position.
This was not easy at all and some very good names have not made this list. With an apology to them and their fans, here goes…
1. Aaron Donald - DT - Los Angeles Rams
Forget about pass rushers. Donald is the league's best player, period. This menace in the middle has 44 sacks in his past three seasons and boasts the league's best pass-rush win rate since entering the NFL in 2014, despite facing constant double and triple teams. Don't bet against Donald completing a hat-trick of Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2020.
2. Chandler Jones - DE - Arizona Cardinals
Jones was a very good player during four years with New England, recording 36 sacks. He has become a great one over the past four seasons in Arizona, registering 60 sacks. What is so impressive when it comes to Jones is the fact that he has to generate so much of the Cardinals' pressure on his own.
3. Khalil Mack - Edge - Chicago Bears
In a quiet 2019, by his high standards, the explosive Mack still registered eight and a half sacks and forced five fumbles. Mack does so much more than just get the quarterback on the ground – he creates game-changing plays with 11 forced fumbles (along with 21 sacks) in two years with the Bears. He is still elite.
4. Cameron Jordan - DE - New Orleans
I cannot remember the last time I watched a Saints game and failed to see Jordan make an eye-catching play. The son of former NFL tight end Steve Jordan has recorded 40 ½ sacks in the past three seasons and has gone over 12 sacks in each of the past three years. Jordan is also very good at batting down passes.
5. T.J. Watt - Edge - Pittsburgh Steelers
The exciting thing for Steelers fans is that T.J. is barely scratching the surface of his potential and has already earned All-Pro honours with 14 ½ sacks, eight forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2019. The explosive edge rusher was the NFL's most productive at his position, according to Pro Football Focus.
6. Joey Bosa - DE - Los Angeles Chargers
The 2019 season may have been all about the emergence of Nick Bosa, but big brother is still elite and gets home using an all-star mix of finesse moves, power and all-out relentlessness. Big Bosa recorded 11 ½ sacks last season and also proved himself to be a complete defender against the run.
7. Myles Garrett - DE - Cleveland Browns
His play got overshadowed by helmet-swinging controversy in 2019, but Garrett has grown to become one of the league's dominant rushers and was rewarded with a big contract extension this offseason. Garrett, who has outstanding explosion and bend, has 30 ½ sacks in 37 NFL games to date.
8. Danielle Hunter - DE - Minnesota Vikings
Another new kid on the block who grew into a man and force to be reckoned with in an All-Pro season is Hunter, who registered 14 ½ sacks in the regular season and another two and a half in the playoffs. Hunter was a constant problem for quarterbacks, creating 97 pressures across the length of an impressive season.
9. Chris Jones - DT - Kansas City Chiefs
I'll give a nod to Fletcher Cox here when it comes to the next-best-interior-rushers conversation behind Donald. I give the edge to Jones because he finishes the deal more often and has 24 ½ sacks over the past two seasons. His dominant display at the end of Super Bowl 54 reminded us of his importance in KC.
10. J.J. Watt - DE - Houston Texans
The only thing stopping J.J. being higher up this list is his injury history. With a torn pectoral muscle being the latest setback in 2019, it has to be noted that Watt has played in 32 of a possible 64 regular season games over the past four years. When healthy – as he was early in 2019 – Watt remains a dominant force.