This is based on the 2021-22 season in combination with each players overall talent. Some players who rush the passer from the interior of the linebacker or defensive lineman positions are included on a different list. These are the best edge rushers in the NFL from the 2021-22 season.
T.J. Watt – I don’t usually have only one person in the first tier, but Watt is fresh off a record breaking season. His 22.5 sacks tied the all-time record and you can’t even use the extra regular season game as an excuse because he only played 15 games. As I’m writing this he hasn’t yet been crowned the Defensive Player of the Year, but it’s a lock.
Joey Bosa – I wish I could pull out a stat for most time doubled or triple teamed. Because of that, he only recorded 10.5 sacks on the season, but his 7 forced fumbles are a estimate to his ability to create plays around the football.
Nick Bosa – Only fitting to have the two Bosa brothers side by side and right now Nick Bosa is both the younger and better brother. He gets the same attention and continues to make plays regardless.
Myles Garrett – Currently second all-time in sacks per game played only behind T.J. Watt. The reason a lot of people were high on the Browns this season was because their defense and Myles Garrett is both the best defender and player in Cleveland.
Maxx Crosby – Don’t let the 8 sacks fool you. Maxx Crosby was a wrecking ball all season long and might have been the most held with no flag player in the league. Pro football focus actually ranked him 2nd amongst all edge rushers this season.
Cameron Jordan – At 32 years old, Cameron Jordan still managed to have yet another double digit sack season. It’s the age of decline, but you have to acknowledge his impact on a Saints team that was held together on a string by their defense.
Shaquil Barrett – It was only two seasons ago Barrett recorded his career high 19.5 sacks. He may have only recorded 10 sacks this season, but is still heavily impactful on a top performing defense full of big names.
Robert Quinn – When Khalil Mack went down, you thought this Bears defense would be in shambles. Robert Quinn more than picked up the slack. His 18.5 sacks at the age of 31 years old was the 2nd most in the NFL and his 2nd most all-time.
Chandler Jones – The big story behind this Cardinals team was the turnaround of the defense. Chandler Jones has been leading this defense for the past 6 seasons and last year was no exception. Though he is now on the downturn of his career.
Trey Hendrickson – The Saints completely lost out on one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Trey Hendrickson is now the main pass rushing source on a defense that shocked everyone this season.
Matt Judon – Much like Hendrickson and the Saints, the Ravens completely lost out on Matt Judon. Not only does he completely pull off the red sleeves, he has also become a nightmare for QBs in the AFC East.
Demarcus Lawrence – He has been one of the most consistent edge rushers in the NFL over the past 5 seasons and this season would have been no exception. If it weren’t for injury, he could have impacted the Cowboys’ first round playoff blunder.
Danielle Hunter – Another case of an elite edge rusher limited to only 7 games by injury. Danielle Hunter is only 27 years old and will most certainly be a riser on this list going into next season.
Von Miller – The move for superstars to be traded is to purposely play worse. Von Miller joined the Rams and immediately made the defense a lot better. He isn’t only a pass rusher either wreaking havoc in the backfield tackling runners in the backfield.
Khalil Mack – Even before the injury, it was clear that we have seen the best of Khalil Mack in years past. I don’t think he will completely fall of a cliff in terms of production, but I do believe he will no longer be a threat for anything close to a DPOY season.
Josh Allen – I actually feel bad for Josh Allen. Google his name and the Bills QB pushes him onto the teenth page. He deserves more love. If it weren’t for being on a trash Jags team, he would be more highly regarded.
Preston Smith – Aaron Rodgers attracts all the spotlight for this Packers team, but their defense also made a jump this season. Their linebacking core stepped up including Preston Smith and Rashan Gary.
Rashan Gary – At only 24 years old, this is likely not the best season we will see of this man. I expect this 12th overall pick to rise of the ranks for the position.
Montez Sweat – He only played 10 games this season, but was very effective in action. This whole Washington team is a mystery, but the strength of their team is not.
Leonard Floyd – I was very close to moving Leonard Floyd higher on this list. This Rams teams went all in this season overshadowing players like Floyd. Having Aaron Donald freeing up single teams does help.
Markus Golden – Another reason why this Cardinals turned it around this season. Golden does not get enough love for how reliable he has been for this Cardinals team over his career.
Marcus Davenport – If I were to move up anyone on this list it would be this man. Marcus Davenport recorded 9.0 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in only 11 games of action. He somehow helped fill the massive shoes of Trey Hendrickson.
Yannick Ngakoue – This Raiders front office was a mess all season, but it was players like Yannick Ngakoue holding it together. The Raiders did almost make a run for it which is more than he can say than his time with the Jaguars.
Chase Young – Even before getting injured in week 10, Chase Young was not nearly the same dominant threat as his rookie season. I don’t believe that inconsistency will continue, but I need to see it before moving him up.
Charles Harris – When you play on a team like the Lions, it’s hard to get love from the casual fan. I’m here to show that love. Dan Campbell loves guys like this.
Denico Autry – Making it to his 3rd NFL team, Autry went off for his career high in sacks. It wasn’t the finish this team wanted in the playoffs, but Autry should continue to be a reliable source for this defense.
Jerry Hughes, Kwity Paye, Dawuane Smoot, Jonathan Greenard, John Franklin-Myers, Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston, Emmanuel Ogbah, Josh Sweat, Carlos Dunlap, Trevis Gipson, Jadeveon Clowney, Alex Highsmith, Gregory Rousseau
This tier is filled with guys that just missed the cut. This varies from players who are old on the decline to players that are on track to move up. You could also make a case for a few of these players being in the higher tiers.
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