Pass Rusher Power Rankings: Von Miller on top
We've rolled weekly random power rankings this season for quarterbacks, coaches, fanbases, and divisions.
It's time to break out a new one: Pass rushers. These are the guys we want for 2012 -- no historical achievement awards.
Top Shelf: Von Miller, Cameron Wake, J.J. Watt, DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews, and Jason Pierre-Paul
With the exception of Ware, this is a "new generation" type of list. Matthews and Ware both have strong arguments as the best 3-4 outside linebacker pass rushers. Miller almost plays his own position; no one has been more disruptive over the last month.
Watt is an MVP candidate and gets extra credit for creating so much pressure from an interior position. Wake might be the most underrated player in football. Using Pro Football Focus' numbers, no pass rusher has more combined sacks, QB hits, and hurries. (Miller is second.) JPP started the season slower as a pass rusher but he's a dominant run stuffer. I just couldn't leave him off this list. He'd be my No. 1 overall draft pick of any defender in the league.
Next level: Jared Allen, Aldon Smith, Julius Peppers, Geno Atkins, Charles Johnson, and Chris Long
Allen and Peppers may not be playing at the highest level of their careers, but they are still big difference makers. Peppers lines up inside a lot. Smith has certainly avoided a sophomore slump in San Francisco. Like Watt, Atkins gets credit for getting pressure up the middle. Johnson makes a lot of money from the Panthers, but he's been worth it. He has 10 sacks and 32 hurries. Only Wake and Miller have more combined sacks, hits, and hurries. The Falcons were out-bid for Johnson and settled for Ray Edwards in 2011 free agency. Whoops.
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