With mandatory minicamps on the horizon and the offseason calendar getting into full swing, here the NFL Insiders of The 33rd Team takes a moment to tier out each NFL team’s pass rush duos into 7 different tiers from Tier 1 to Tier 7. After our tiering of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, their supporting weapons, and the league’s best offensive lines, here we transition to the defensive side of the ball.
Tier 1 includes the duos consisting of two top-flight pass rushers, and/or one elite, HOF worthy pass rusher. In the case of the first three on this list (although they are placed in no particular order within the tiers), an argument can be made for either player being the best pass rusher on their team. Each of the last two teams have an elite pass rusher complemented by another extremely disruptive force.
“An elite pass rusher is someone who is a difference maker that the other team has to gameplan for on every play,” says former NFL General Manager Mike Tannenbaum. “Interior pass rush is more effective, especially when it’s quick and can speed up the QBs decision-making process.
“The best pass rusher in the NFL is still Aaron Donald.”
Demarcus Lawrence & Micah Parsons
Las Vegas Raiders:
Maxx Crosby & Chandler Jones
Los Angeles Chargers:
Khalil Mack & Joey Bosa
Los Angeles Rams:
Aaron Donald & Leonard Floyd
T.J. Watt & Cameron Heyward
Tier 2 consists of pass rush duos, with at least one superstar paired with a great supporting partner. Each star within this tier could easily see a season with 15-plus sacks this coming year, with their counterparts sporting reasonable expectations for double digit sack totals as well.
Myles Garrett & Jadeveon Clowney
New Orleans Saints:
Cameron Jordan & Marcus Davenport
San Francisco 49ers:
Nick Bosa & Arik Armstead
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Shaquil Barrett & Joe Tryon-Shoyinka
Jeffery Simmons & Harold Landry
Green Bay Packers:
Rashan Gary & Kenny Clark
Tier 3 is grouped as extremely solid complements to one another, or duos that can realistically combine for around 20 sacks this coming season. Both members of these tandem could be 10-plus sack contributors, and teams will need to specifically gameplan to stop each rusher.
Von Miller & Ed Oliver
Trey Hendrickson & Sam Hubbard
Bradley Chubb & Randy Gregory
Yannick Ngakoue & DeForest Buckner
Chase Young & Jonathan Allen
Tier 4 holds the consistent and slightly above average pass rush duos. Each player in these duos can be disruptive consistently, but rarely flash as a tandem beyond their expected level of play. This group does contain two duos that have second-year rushers who may make a leap this year, which would vault them up our list.
Odafe Oweh & Calais Campbell
Kansas City Chiefs:
Frank Clark & Chris Jones
Danielle Hunter & Za’Darius Smith
Brandon Graham & Haason Reddick
New York Giants:
Leonard Williams & Azeez Ojulari
Tier 5 consists of one proven entity as a pass rusher and a partner who will need to either improve their technique, take a leap forward, or prove themself in some way in order to create a more balanced tandem. As of now, these pass rush duos are lopsided.
Brian Burns & Yetur Gross-Matos
Josh Allen & Travon Walker
Jaelan Phillips & Emmanuel Ogbah
Robert Quinn & Al-Quadin Muhammad
New England Patriots:
Matthew Judon & Deatrich Wise Jr
Tier 6 contains the tandems that employ one pass rusher who might be able to reach double digit sacks this season, though it may be unlikely.
Aidan Hutchinson & Romeo Okwara
Jonathan Greenard & Jerry Hughes
New York Jets:
Quinnen Williams & Carl Lawson
Devon Kennard & Markus Golden
Tier 7 consists of our bottom tier of pass rushers and are the units which we expect to be at the bottom of the NFL sacks list in 2022. If they are not among the bottom five teams in sacks by the end of the year, one of their younger, more unproven players will have taken a major leap forward, bringing the whole team with him.
Grady Jarrett & Arnold Ebiketie
Darrell Taylor & Shelby Harris