New York Giants’ EDGE Michael Strahan broke the single-season sack record (22.5) exactly 21 years ago on January 6, 2002, so it’s a great time to look at the top 5 greatest Edge Rushers of all time with him cracking the list.
As football has evolved over the years and defensive schemes have shifted, it’s more critical now than ever that teams apply pressure to the Quarterback and get to the backfield. This is where the Edge Rusher comes into play. While the term Edge Rusher is still relatively new and more of a defensive concept than a position, every great defense has had players that rush the pocket in hopes of generating sacks, tackles for loss, fumbles, pass deflections, and overall pressure to deter the offense with Edge Rushers typically lining up as Defensive End or Outside Linebacker, depending on the scheme.
Nowadays, Quarterbacks are quicker, shiftier, smarter, more athletic, and more agile than ever, creating a desire for great Edge Rushers that can shed their blockers efficiently and get to the QB within seconds of the snap. Although this list includes players from different eras of the game, each one shares the characteristics of a great Edge Rusher: technique, speed, footwork, agility, and power. Each player has left their own mark on the game that will be evident in years to come.
From Super Bowl champion to Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pro recognition, each of these Edge Rushers has combined accolades with personal dominance and success that either already has, or will secure them a spot with the sport’s all-time greats in Canton. Honorable mention includes: DeMarcus Ware, Deacon Jones, Julius Peppers, Derrick Thomas, and Jack Youngblood. T.J. Watt & Myles Garrett could one day join this list as well.
Here are the top 5 greatest NFL Edge Rushers of all time. Do you agree? Create your own rankings below!
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