Nothing gets an NFL crowd pumped up more than sacks. With that in mind who will be the top pass rushers of 2014?
#5 – Jared Allen – Chicago Bears
“The Mullet” has been one of the most consistent quarterback killers for a decade. Jared Allen is now with his third team in the Chicago Bears and at age 32 is hoping to continue defying age by posting double digit sacks again. He’ll have some help to do so. Chicago also added former Raider Lamarr Houston and also brought back four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. If they generate push like they can, it is bound to funnel quarterbacks into the waiting arms of Allen as he defiantly continues his climb up the sack total chart.
#4 – Justin Houston – Kansas City Chiefs
The truly disgusting part about the 2013 season for Justin Houston wasn’t just his 11 sacks, it was the fact he got those sacks in just 11 games. He has matured into a premier pass rush threat and with the presence of Tamba Hali, Dontari Poe and now Dee Ford up front as well, Houston is going to see even more single blocks than he did last season. If he stays healthy then there is no reason to think he won’t dominate at the age of 25.
#3 – J.J. Watt – Houston Texans
The stage is set. J.J. Watt has lived with double teams his entire career but that hasn’t stopped him from getting quarterbacks on the ground. To think he might actually not have to deal with as many blockers in 2014 is ludicrous. Yet that is the reality besetting the Houston Texans following the addition of 1st overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. His pass rush presence should draw attention right away, and the more experienced Watt is virtually guaranteed to take advantage.
#2 – Von Miller – Denver Broncos
Another top pass rusher who couldn’t stay healthy last NFL season. Von Miller only played in nine games due to a suspension and then a torn ACL. He never really got a chance to find his groove but the flashes of skill were always there. As a fresh start approaches, the Denver Broncos defense is getting healthy. On top of that they’re getting better. T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib will improve the secondary while the surprise acquisition of former All-Pro Demarcus Ware puts another rusher on the field to take heat off Miller. The last time that was true? Miller posted 18 sacks.
#1 – Robert Quinn – St. Louis Rams
He was a half sack shy of the league lead in 2013 and he’s still only 24-years old. Robert Quinn is the cream of the crop among pass rushers and the St. Louis Rams have made sure to do everything possible to make him dominant. That includes improving their secondary and also adding a presence on the interior in Aaron Donald. The rookie is a gifted pass rushing defensive tackle, which is bound to create more chances for Quinn, as if he needs them. The Rams are poised to have the best pass rush this NFL season, and Black Lightning will lead the way.