With the 2020 NFL regular season now on the doorstep, we’re breaking down the top position groups in key areas. Now that starting rosters are pretty much set, here are the league’s top 10 pass-rushing groups entering Week 1.
10. Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence, Everson Griffen, Tyrone Crawford
The Griffen signing could be huge for the Cowboys, who add a four-time Pro Bowler to support a two-time Pro Bowl edge defender in Lawrence. Two form a superb duo, and Crawford is a strong presence inside. He’s back from hip surgery.
9. Los Angeles Chargers: Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram
The two have been elected to a combined five Pro Bowls in the last three seasons. There isn’t a lot of depth beyond that, but Bosa is only getting better following a season with 31 quarterback hits.
8. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is magical, and he gets the most out of this foursome plus peripheral rusher Josh Sweat.
7. Washington Football Team: Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Matthew Ioannidis
Young is one of the most hyped rookie defenders to hit the league in years, Kerrigan has four Pro Bowls on his record, Sweat and Allen are recent first-round picks who combined for 13 sacks last year, and Ioannidis quietly put up 8.5 sacks in a peripheral role in 2019. This team has issues, but is stacked up front on D.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh
Barrett led the league with 19.5 sacks last season, and Pierre-Paul added 8.5 despite playing only 10 games. They aren’t deep on the edge, but Suh helps everyone around him.
5. Chicago Bears: Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Akiem Hicks
Mack alone gets the Bears onto this list. He’s a three-time first-team All-Pro in his prime, and he’s now supported by Quinn, who also registered double-digit sacks with the Cowboys last year. Hicks helps push inside.
4. Minnesota Vikings: Danielle Hunter, Yannick Ngakoue, Ifeadi Odenigbo
Hunter has registered 29 combined sacks the last two years. Meanwhile, the newbie Ngakoue has recorded at least eight sacks in his first four seasons, and his 14 forced fumbles are the fourth-highest total in the NFL during that span. Odenigbo chipped in with seven sacks last year.
3. Green Bay Packers: Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary
The Packers were the only team in the NFL with two players with 12-plus sacks in 2019. The Smiths are studs, and Clark and Gary are extreme talents inside with room to grow. The Packers might be soft against the run, but they can bring it with that group.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Javon Kinlaw
Bosa was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019, Armstead put together a 10-sack season, Ford is a year removed from a 13-sack campaign in Kansas City, and the rookie Kinlaw can really create a push inside.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt
Watt was a legit Defensive Player of the Year candidate with 14.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 2019, Dupree chipped in with 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, and Heyward and Tuitt are beasts on the line. The former is a star who recorded nine sacks last year.