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Top five pass rushes in the NFL right now

Top 5 / Top 10
08 Nov 2019, 20:12 IST

Cleveland Browns v San Francisco 49ers

This is a category very near and dear to my heart. People believe the total number of sacks are the only thing you should look at, but a lot of that can be attributed to different blitz packages and a lot of opposing coaches won’t allow that pass rush to get home by getting the ball out quickly or keeping more guys in protection.

The Patriots, for example, are second in the league with 32 sacks so far, but I would credit the scheme more here with that cover-zero blitz New England loves to run and confuse young quarterbacks with. When you look at a basic four-man rush, I think they are not quite in the top five.

#1 San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals

Instead, I am going with San Francisco 49ers for another number one spot here. It took the Niners forever to actually get that pass rush going after investing four straight first-round picks and another big contract into their defensive line. It has finally paid off for a defense that is tied for third with 30 sacks and ranks second in total defense as well as points allowed.

Nick Bosa is the clear favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year with the way he has come into the league as a grown man and dominated games, but this group is really deep. The most money has gone to Dee Ford, who was top three in total pressures last year and was traded for in the offseason. On the inside, they have DeForest Buckner, who is one of the quietest superstars we have in the NFL.

Then there’s Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, who were labeled as busts just last year, but have given them inside-out versatility and good pressure. They also have lesser-known guys such as Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones and Sheldon Day making an impact. Overall there are six defenders with multiple sacks due to the way they collapse the pocket and all the games they run upfront.

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