Blake Gardner’s Preseason NFL Edge Rusher Rankings

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One of the most versatile positions in the NFL today is the defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, also known as edge/pass rushers. Sometimes, these guys are smaller, linebacker types who have a GPS to the quarterback, and sometimes these players are 260+ pound giants who run 4.50 second 40s. Either way, they can be a QB’s worst nightmare. Here’s a preview of the best EDGEs in for the 2021-22 season.

 

10. DE Danielle Hunter (MIN)

After back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2018 and 2019, Hunter spent 2020 recovering from a herniated disc surgery. Arguably the best player on the Vikings, Hunter combined for 29 sacks during his two Pro Bowl seasons, and he will look to get back on track this season.

Danielle Hunter at Vikings training Camp https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.reddit.com%2Fr%2Fminnesotavikings%2Fcomments%2F9lwo0f%2Fjust_a_picture_of_our_man_in_the_field%2F&psig=AOvVaw2_LjVlAbMdlhIPTgDEZUKq&ust=1626981391223000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCKDc6ZLw9PECFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

9. DE DeMarcus Lawrence (DAL)

8. DE Cameron Jordan (NO)

7. DE Chase Young (WSH)

Currently the Defensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler, Chase Young is one of the next superstars of the NFL, and he’ll improve his resume this season on a Washington defense that finished fourth best last year. Opposing defensive end Montez Sweat is right outside the top 10 himself, which is going to be menacing for opposing teams.

https://twitter.com/youngchase907

6. DE Nick Bosa (SF)

Another player coming off an injury from last season is Nick Bosa, who tore his ACL in week 2 of the 2020 season. San Francisco had high expectations for Bosa last year, and the bar will be set even higher this season. He’s also a front runner for Comeback Player of the Year (you should check out this article for my nominees), so you all should watch out for him!

5. LB Shaquil Barrett (TB)

4. LB Khalil Mack (CHI)

3. DE Myles Garrett (CLE)

Last season, Myles Garrett was selected as a First-Team All-Pro for the first time in his career after totaling 12 sacks and four forced fumbles. He managed to accomplish this despite battling Covid-19 and the aftermath on his body. The Browns have since added Jadeveon Clowney to complement Garrett and the young Cleveland team. If his 2020 dominance carries into this season, he could be number one on this list next year.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 10: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 10, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

2. DE Joey Bosa (LA)

The injury bug was a minor problem for Joey Bosa (and the entire Chargers defense) last season, causing him to miss four games and only start in 10. However, he still made it to the Pro Bowl and is part of a new L.A. Chargers team that has a defensive-minded head coach in Brandon Staley. With the additions made in the offseason, Bosa is in place to tear the league apart this season.

Joey Bosa sacks Josh Allen Week 11 Nov. 29 2020. https://chargerswire.usatoday.com/2021/05/31/chargers-joey-bosa-was-second-most-disruptive-player-in-2020/

1. LB T.J. Watt (PIT)

The undisputed best outside linebacker for the last two seasons has been T.J. Watt. His stats are one thing but the effect he has on the game is immeasurable. He is the leader on defense and performs when the pressure is on. The two-time First-Team All-Pro is in a contract year, and he is set to make around $10 million this season. That number should skyrocket next year if he continues his reign!

T.J. Watt at Steelers Mini-Camp https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2021/06/15/Steelers-star-T-J-Watt-contract-extension-minicamp/stories/202106150125

 

Edited By: Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.

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