With the 2019 NFL Season on our doorstep, let’s take a look at who the best pass rush-duos are heading into the season.
Out of all of the position groups to rank, this is probably one of the hardest. Across the league, there are many NFL teams who have good to great pass rush tandems.
At the same time, there are teams who have that one generational pass-rusher, while their running mate is either an average or below average player. Which for me, makes the ranking a bit more difficult. In my mind, a top duo means that BOTH guys are contributing at a high rate. That is why some of you may be surprised to see guys like Khalil Mack, Chandler Jones or Aaron Donald omitted from this list.
Additionally, I feel that it is fair to mention that some of these ranks are based on a high potential that I believe is there. So with that out of the way, let’s get to the list!
1. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb – Denver Broncos
Without a question, this is the best pass-rush duo in the NFL. Miller, who has 98 sacks over the course of his eight-year career, is arguably the leagues best pass-rusher. Chubb, on the other hand, broke out in his rookie season with 12 sacks and looks to build on his promising start.
2. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue – Jacksonville Jaguars
Just out of first place is the duo from Sacksonville. In his first two years in Duval County, Campbell has seemed to really blossom as a player, notching 25 sacks over two seasons. Ngakoue, on the other hand, is one of the leagues young studs at defensive end. The former Maryland Terp has 29.5 sacks in first three seasons and looks to terrorize the AFC South for years to come.
3. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney – Houston Texans
I feel like this is one of the picks I might catch some flack for, but nonetheless, I proceed.
Look, J.J. Watt is one the league’s most dangerous defensive players, who has two seasons of 20.5 under his belt, as well as four DPOY awards to boot. Clowney however, was a bit slow coming out of the gate but seems to have found his place amongst the NFL’s better pass rushers.
4. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram – Los Angeles Chargers
I remember a time when if you said that a Chargers pass-rush duo was in the top of the NFL, you would be called a “clown” on social media. However, that’s certainly not the case these days.
Since he was drafted in 2016, Bosa, like Ngakoue, has been amongst the leagues best young pass-rushers with 28.5 over his first three seasons. Ingram, on the other hand, has had a similar path as Clowney, with his first few years in the NFL being slowed by injury, only really breaking out in the last four years.
5. Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen – Minnesota Vikings
And rounding out the top five we have the boys from Minnesota.
Everson Griffen has quietly been one of the leagues more solid and dependable defensive ends for years, and only now is he getting the recognition he deserves.
While Hunter, like many others I have mentioned before, has been a complete game-wrecker in his first fours seasons in the pros. Over four seasons, Hunter has notched 40 sacks, with highest total coming in 2018 at 14.5.
6. Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon – Cleveland Browns
This is one a few new tandems on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less potent.
Listen, Myles Garrett is exactly who we thought he was going to be, a pure dominant pass rusher and in 2018 he showed that by notching 13 sacks. He was a constant headache for offenses in the NFL, let alone the AFC North and in 2019, we should see that once again.
Vernon on the other while solid but not an elite pass rusher, recently came to Cleveland via the blockbuster trade with Giants earlier this March. While only having one double-digit sack season, Vernon still managed good production over his career and like with Garrett, we should see that again in 2019.
7. Demarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn – Dallas Cowboys
While the on-field effectiveness of this duo may be stymied due to Quinn’s recent troubles, on paper this pairing looks great.
Lawrence has turned into one of the leagues best pass rushers, and for those of us who fawned over guys like him as a prospect, this is a wonderful sight to behold.
And while Quinn may not be the player he was five years ago, he’s still a more than capable pass rusher that can give this Dallas unit an extra punch.
8. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap – Cinncinati Bengals
A bit of an older duo but that shouldn’t discredit what Atkins and Dunlap can do on the field.
While this is more based on Atkins unstoppable play up the middle, Dunlop, like Vernon in Cleveland is and has always been a more than capable pass rusher.
9. Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat – Washington Redskins
Ryan Kerrigan remains one the league’s most underrated players, despite putting up back to back 13 sack seasons in 2017 and 2018. So newly minted Washington Redskin Montez Sweat should be soaking up every bit of knowledge he can from Kerrigan. If he does and adds that to an already promising set of skills, the duo from Washington could be one of the best in the NFL.
10. Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith– Green Bay Packers
And lastly, we have the other duo ranked on potential. While this will probably one the more controversial choices, just here me out.
When given the opportunity, Za’Darius Smith was a terror on the edge for the Ravens, and as a fan, I had always wished he had gotten more snaps. But now that he’s in Green Bay, the 27-year-old should look to build upon his 2018 season in which he notched eight sacks.
Preston Smith conversely has made an impact since he was drafted, notching 24.5 sacks through four seasons, including two 8 sack seasons. And given the recent production from both of these young men, I think it stands to reason that both will show out in 2019.