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Thread: Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL pass-rushers

  1. #1
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    Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL pass-rushers

    [SIZE="5"][B]Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL pass-rushers[/B][/SIZE]

    By Kevin Seifert

    [URL="http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/25401/power-rankings-top-10-nfl-pass-rushers"]ESPN.comís[/URL] NFL writers rank the top 10 pass-rushers in the league today. Next week: Top 10 tight ends.

    ESPN.com's panel of power rankers had no trouble identifying the best pass-rusher in football. The rest of our Top 10 list? It was easily the most difficult to compile so far in what will be a 10-week project.

    [B][U]THE LIST:[/U][/B]

    Ranking the Pass-Rushers

    1. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
    2. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
    3. Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts
    3. Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings
    5. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
    6. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
    7. [B]John Abraham[/B], Atlanta Falcons-LOVED him on our D when he chose to show up
    8. Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears
    9. LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers
    10. Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins


    Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware received seven of eight first-place votes. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky ranked him No. 2, putting Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney at the top of his ballot. Overall, a total of 17 players received votes, and the crowd was dense enough to exclude established veterans such as Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Colts defensive end Robert Mathis.


    The category was tough, explained NFC West blogger Mike Sando, because "sack numbers tend to fluctuate from year to year and it's tougher to know which pass-rushers are truly the best. I think the proliferation of 3-4 defenses also made this a tougher call. We weren't evaluating defensive ends exclusively. We were also looking at 3-4 outside linebackers. That deepened the pool while forcing us to compare players at more than one position."

    Ware, for one, wasn't a difficult choice -- as long as sacks are the primary statistical representation of pass rushing. Ware led the NFL in sacks last season with 15.5, and he has also had more combined sacks over the past two, three and five seasons combined than any other NFL player. At 28, he would seem to have several ultra-productive seasons remaining in his career.

    Beyond Ware, however, the debate was fierce. The Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews received the second-most votes (61), but there wasn't much separating him from Freeney (58) or Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (52).

    Kuharsky's familiarity with Freeney gave him a unique perspective.

    "I've had coaches and scouts I trust tell me, repeatedly, that Freeney is the best pure pass-rusher in the league," Kuharsky said. "They say he's the guy they'd want if they could have anyone and the most difficult guy to stop because of the way he plots out his game. That's stuck with me and was a big factor for me as I put together my ballot."

    From an NFC North perspective, I think it's interesting that Ware is the only NFL player who has recorded more sacks than Allen over the past five seasons. Allen's total of 11.0 last season was his low-water mark over the last four seasons, however, and the explicit instructions for voters were to base judgments on what we can expect for the 2011 season.

    Given a choice between Allen, Matthews or Freeney in building a Super Bowl team for 2011, whom would you choose? With all due respect for Freeney (and Kuharsky, such that he deserves it) Matthews, 24, seems the right answer to me.


    Matthews, Allen and Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers gave the NFC North a league-high three members of this exclusive group. Peppers' all-around contributions last season earned him a spot on The Associated Press' All-Pro team, but his total of eight sacks left him ranked eighth on our list.

    Illustrating the difficulty of this exercise, two voters left Peppers off their ballots entirely and a third -- AFC North blogger James Walker -- ranked him No. 10. The Atlanta Falcons' John Abraham, The Associated Press' other first-team All-Pro defensive end, ranked a composite No. 7.

    NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas, who covers Abraham and until 2010 covered Peppers as well, ranked Peppers No. 5 and said: "I know the sack numbers can rise and fall, but he has the ability to completely take over a game at any time." Meanwhile, a younger Abraham would have ranked higher.

    "He had 11 sacks last year but 5.5 the year before," Yasinskas said. "At 32, you have to at least question whether he would sustain 2010 numbers in 2011."

    Finally, if you're outraged about the absence of Williams, Tuck, Suggs, Mathis, the Philadelphia Eagles' Trent Cole or even the Denver Broncos' Elvis Dumervil, you probably need to focus your ire at the inclusion of Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. In his second NFL season, Wake exploded for 14 sacks.

    Does one elite season merit inclusion on this list? Opinions varied widely among our voters. Wake was left off three ballots and voted No. 10 on three others. AFC East blogger Tim Graham, who saw more of Wake last season than any other voter, placed him No. 4.

    "If we're ranking the best overall defensive ends or outside linebackers, then maybe Cameron Wake doesn't make my list," Graham said. "He's not a run-stuffer and is lacking when it comes to pass coverage. But we're rating pure pass-rushers, and that's the one thing Wake does on an elite level. He's a freakishly gifted athlete who creates havoc in the backfield.

    "I also don't view Wake as a one-year wonder because he had a strong season in 2009 despite playing behind Joey Porter and Jason Taylor in most situations and under a different defensive coordinator. He should continue to thrive under Mike Nolan's guidance. I view Wake as a legitimate star who was overlooked on a mediocre team."

    Your thoughts? I'm expecting them.


    Ranking the Pass-Rushers: How They Voted:

    [U]Rk[/U] [U]Pass-Rushers[/U] JC TG PK MS KS JW BW PY [B]Total[/B]
    1 DeMarcus Ware 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 79
    2 Clay Matthews 3 3 5 4 2 5 2 3 61
    3 Dwight Freeney 5 8 1 2 3 3 4 4 58
    4 Jared Allen 2 5 7 6 4 4 6 2 52
    5 Tamba Hali 9 2 3 3 5 9 5 6 46
    6 James Harrison 4 -- -- 5 8 2 3 9 35
    7 John Abraham 8 6 10 9 7 6 7 7 28
    8 Julius Peppers 7 7 -- 8 6 10 -- 5 23
    9 LaMarr Woodley 6 -- 8 7 -- 7 8 8 22
    10 Cameron Wake 10 4 -- -- 9 -- 10 10 12

    Others Receiving Votes

    11 Mario Williams -- -- 4 -- -- -- -- -- 7
    12 Terrell Suggs -- 9 -- -- 10 8 -- -- 6
    13 Robert Mathis -- -- 6 -- -- -- -- -- 5
    14 Elvis Dumervil -- -- -- -- -- -- 9 -- 2
    14 Justin Tuck -- -- 9 -- -- -- -- -- 2
    16 Trent Cole -- -- -- 10 -- -- -- -- 1
    16 Chris Long -- 10 -- -- -- -- -- -- 1

    Key: JC=John Clayton; MS=Mike Sando; KS=Kevin Seifert; PY=Pat Yasinskas; TG=Tim Graham;
    BW=Bill Williamson; JW=James Walker; PK=Paul Kuharsky
    Rank: 1=10 points, 2=9 points, 3=8 points, 4=7 points, 5=6 points, etc.

  2. #2
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    The only reason I'm responding is because "Abraham" is highlighted above.

    A lot of people whine about us losing Abraham, but two things people forget is that he didn't want to be here, and he was never around come the few playoff games we did have with him.

    Mangold is an All Pro, let alone a Pro Bowler, and will continue to be so for the next 7-8 years. Abraham is not at that level at his position.

    Let's find a pass rusher, and move on.

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    Thought VG was finally going to be the replacement for Abraham but I guess we have to wait longer.

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    [QUOTE=John_0515;3985896]The only reason I'm responding is because "Abraham" is highlighted above.

    A lot of [B]people whine about us losing Abraham[/B], but two things people forget is that he didn't want to be here, and he was never around come the few playoff games we did have with him.

    Mangold is an All Pro, let alone a Pro Bowler, and will continue to be so for the next 7-8 years. Abraham is not at that level at his position.

    [B]Let's find a pass rusher, and move on.[/B][/QUOTE]

    Get over yourself and don't respond then.

    NO ONE is whining about his loss and CLEARLY the Jets got the better of the deal. I highlighted him b/c he was a true pass rusher and I was a HUGE fan of his during his first 4-5 years with the Jets. We [B]have[/B] moved on and we don't need a the history lesson of him being an unhappy apple. :rolleyes:

    Comment on the breakdown & rankings, not your disdain for a former player.:D

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    John Abraham.

    The classic player who shows up for one game, records 2-3 sacks, then disappears for two or three games. Played in one full playoff game.

    He should advertise Tampax.

    Screw him.

    P.S. Tamba Hali is way too high up on that list and after only season Cameron Wake has eclipsed Mario Williams and Terrell Suggs? GTFO here.

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    [QUOTE=Gas2No99;3985904]Get over yourself and don't respond then.

    NO ONE is whining about his loss and CLEARLY the Jets got the better of the deal. I highlighted him b/c he was a true pass rusher and I was a HUGE fan of his during his first 4-5 years with the Jets. We [B]have[/B] moved on and we don't need a the history lesson of him being an unhappy apple. :rolleyes:

    Comment on the breakdown & rankings, not your disdain for a former player.:D[/QUOTE]

    Ha. You need to get over yourself. If you had not highlighted Abraham's name in that entire post, I would never have responded, but you brought attention to it. Fact is, we have no pass rusher, and some people want what "could have been" etc., etc.

    Oh, and just like everyone else on this website and the rest of the internet, anyone can comment on anything you post, in any way they want. Or should I follow your rules? Why don't you post them for all of us to see so nobody upsets you again. :zzz:

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    [QUOTE=124;3985912]John Abraham.

    The classic player who shows up for one game, records 2-3 sacks, then disappears for two or three games. Played in one full playoff game.

    He should advertise Tampax.

    Screw him.

    P.S. Tamba Hali is way too high up on that list and after only season Cameron Wake has eclipsed Mario Williams and Terrell Suggs? GTFO here.[/QUOTE]

    I thought the same thing. It's like nobody involved in making the list watched Terrell Suggs in this year's Pittsburgh playoff game, but Wake did something way better than that in his only season.

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    Hali is overrated...I'm not sure why but I just don't think this guy is as good as the hype has been lately.

    Lawlz @ Williams not making the top 10. Suggs too really...love me some Woodley but I'm not sure I'd take him over Suggs...Suggs has been in the league 4 more seasons than Woodley...he's 2 years older...I always think it's awesome that he came into this league and kicked ass at age 20.
    Last edited by Much ado about Nothing; 03-22-2011 at 09:32 PM.

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    Abraham is NOT a top ten rusher...Suggs not in the top 10? LOL...Osi Umenyiora receiving no love when he had 8 sacks + forced fumbles...Wake is a monster, watched a lot of Miami this year, he destroyed us with 3 sacks in our 10-6 loss this season

    Jared Allen is the one who is overrated...He was a beast in his early years but had started the decline already...7 of his sacks last year were against an awful GB OL...and this year he was a no-show

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    John Abraham is a freaky athlete and is almost unstoppable when he's healthy and on.... but we all know he's gimpy and streaky.


    Still, as good as Mangold is I don't know if we got the better of that trade. Sacrilege, I know. But a near elite edge rusher may be more valuable than the best center in the league.

    We haven't had any players close to Abe's ability to rush the passer since he's left.

    Also we wouldn't have drafted VG at 6 overall if Abe was on the squad. He was too sensitive for NYC so it wasn't a good fit but I'm not so quick to crown the Jets on this trade.

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    [QUOTE=David Harris;3985959]John Abraham is a freaky athlete and is almost unstoppable when he's healthy and on.... but we all know he's gimpy and streaky.


    Still, as good as Mangold is I don't know if we got the better of that trade. Sacrilege, I know. But a near elite edge rusher may be more valuable than the best center in the league.

    We haven't had any players close to Abe's ability to rush the passer since he's left.

    Also we wouldn't have drafted VG at 6 overall if Abe was on the squad. He was too sensitive for NYC so it wasn't a good fit but I'm not so quick to crown the Jets on this trade.[/QUOTE]
    The part no one wants to mention is it was Kevin Maeve and Abraham for Mangold

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    I would like to now hear from all of the idiots at JI who posted "pass", when the Jets brought in Cameron Wake for a tryout 2 summers ago.
    There were SEVERAL posters who blew him off because "he plays in the CFL".
    I wish we could find that thread now...

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    [QUOTE=Baddniss;3986022]I would like to now hear from all of the idiots at JI who posted "pass", when the Jets brought in Cameron Wake for a tryout 2 summers ago.
    There were SEVERAL posters who blew him off because "he plays in the CFL".
    I wish we could find that thread now...[/QUOTE]

    You do realize that he could wind up being a one year wonder, right? Lets see him perform consistently.

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    ... must have been a contract year for abe ...



    p.s. - abe's impact in the playoffs last year

    Defense T-A SCK INT FF
    J. Abraham 1-0 1.0 0 0



    1-10-GB 19 (4:54) 12-A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to 85-G.Jennings. PENALTY on ATL-55-J.Abraham, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced at GB 19 - No Play.







    l_j_r

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    Drew Coleman.

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    [QUOTE=Gas2No99;3985904]

    NO ONE is whining about his loss and CLEARLY the Jets got the better of the deal. I highlighted him b/c he was a true pass rusher and I was a HUGE fan of his during his first 4-5 years with the Jets. [/QUOTE]

    You were a huge fan of a guy that had mystery injuries when the team needed him most, but played just enough to land big contracts? I'll pass on him.

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    Howie Long voted?

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    [QUOTE=David Harris;3985959]John Abraham is a freaky athlete and is almost unstoppable when he's healthy and on.... but we all know he's gimpy and streaky.


    Still, as good as Mangold is I don't know if we got the better of that trade. Sacrilege, I know. But a near elite edge rusher may be more valuable than the best center in the league.

    We haven't had any players close to Abe's ability to rush the passer since he's left.

    Also we wouldn't have drafted VG at 6 overall if Abe was on the squad. He was too sensitive for NYC so it wasn't a good fit but I'm not so quick to crown the Jets on this trade.[/QUOTE]

    The deal was the right move because Abe didn't want to be here and we got the best value we could.

    Where I agree with you is people talk about how great the 06 draft was except that Mangold did replace Abe and if you couple that with the draft of Gholston to replace Abe our drafts don't look nearly as good.

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    How 'bout that Vernon Gholston.

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    [QUOTE=Depths;3986130]Howie Long voted?[/QUOTE]

    lol

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