Ranking The Top 5 Pass Rushers In The 2014 NFL Draft
2014 NFL Draft: Ranking The Top 5 Pass Rushers
In today's NFL, defenses are put in an unfair position. Due to rules protecting offensive players, players on the defensive side of the ball have some of the toughest jobs in the world. Rules enabled in recent years have been designed to continue the emergence of the passing game, and as a result, every team in the NFL is looking for pass rushers.
The 2014 NFL Draft is filled with guys that can rush the quarterback; it's really a goldmine for any team in search of someone to take down the quarterback. Headlined by guys like Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr, this draft class has a few big names that teams will almost certainly want to take a look at. However, what really separates this class is the underrated guys. As we've seen in recent years, it's not always the top picks that make the biggest impact, and that could certainly be a theme for this year's crop of pass rushers.
The NFL is a league that is always evolving, and just like the league is evolving, players are too. Gone are the days of 250 pound bruisers, and in are the days of high-risk, high-reward passing games. However, it's not just the offensive players that are evolving. On the defensive side, no longer are teams looking for big lineman focused on stopping the run. Teams are now looking for the types of players that can keep the opposing quarterbacks on their toes. Pass rushers are quickly becoming an important part of the NFL, and the 2014 NFL Draft reflects that growing importance.
Let's take a look at where the top five pass rushers in the 2014 NFL draft rank out.
5. Kyle Van Noy, BYU
Coming in at No. 5 is Kyle Van Noy, the outside linebacker out of BYU. Van Noy does not possess elite level athleticism, however, he makes up for it in effort and instincts. He has the ability to slip through an offensive line on any given play and is relentless when chasing down the quarterback. His lack of truly great athletic ability might hold him from becoming elite, but there is no question, Van Noy can be a fine pass rusher in the NFL.
4. Dee Ford, Auburn
Dee Ford out of Auburn is coming off of a Senior Bowl performance that really cemented his status as a first rounder in the draft. However, as fans of Auburn can tell you, Ford was honestly a disruptive presence all season long for the Tigers. He has a great burst off the line and the quickness to slide right by offensive lineman. There will be some questions about his true position in the NFL, but Ford is a name worth remembering.
3. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
The fact that Jadeveon Clowney comes in at the third spot on this list should tell you all you need to know about the amount of pass rushing talent in this draft. With that said, Clowney is a freakish athlete and has absolutely everything you want in a defensive player as far as talent goes. The only questions about Clowney swirl around his effort level.
If Clowney is willing to put in the work in the NFL, he could be one of the best in the league. However, it's crucial he provides maximum effort, or else we could be talking about Clowney as one of the bigger busts in draft history.
2. Anthony Barr, UCLA
Coming out of high school, Anthony Barr was a running back. Before long, however, he would find that defense was his true calling, and in UCLA, he showed flashes of absolute dominance.
Barr is a great athlete and has remarkable burst, however, he must work on becoming more consistent in order to truly reach his potential.
1. Khalil Mack, Buffalo
That's right, Khalil Mack, an outside linebacker out of small Buffalo University, is the top pass rusher in the 2014 NFL draft.
Mack really stood out against the bigger opponents Buffalo took on, and his combination of a high motor, power and speed really separates him from some others in this draft. He might not be the most well known pass rusher in the draft, but he is the best.