Top 5 Best Pure Pass Rushers in 2014 NFL Draft

Top 5 Pure Pass Rushers in 2014 NFL Draft

2014 NFL Draft
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In a league that has become more about the aerial attack than ever in recent years, it only seems logical that disrupting that high-flying act would be top priority for NFL defenses. What better way to circumvent a prolific passing attack than by not allowing passes to be thrown in a timely manner? That’s what the league’s best pass rushers get paid the big bucks for, and these five guys are the best the 2014 NFL Draft has to offer.

5. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

5. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

He’s still unrefined, but Barr has only been rushing the passer for two years now. At 6-foot-5, 255-pounds with long arms and freakish athleticism, there’s plenty of room for growth for this young man. A non-stop motor forces opposing linemen into holding penalties and his variety of rush moves give him an immediate advantage on would-be blockers. With his burst off the line of scrimmage, there’s no reason to think Barr won’t be a QB nightmare.

4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, you thought Clowney would be higher, right? Although he uses twists and stunts better than pretty much anyone given his pure athleticism, he may have relied too heavily on that advantage at the collegiate level. In the pros everyone is quick, and what once was an easy sack will be thwarted. He’s still got an insanely high ceiling, but Clowney remains a pass-rushing work in progress.

3. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, I admit it. I’m a bit smitten with Donald as a draft prospect. And how could you not be with his insane burst off the snap and propensity for living in the opposing backfield. Most of the country didn’t come to know Donald until his coming out party at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, but he was dominating all year long. Inside in a 4-3, this young fella is poised to wreak havoc and be a disruptive force at the next level.

2. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

2. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating small-school guys can be tricky given the level of competition, but Mack has a blend of power and quickness that can’t be taught. He uses active hands to prevent would-be blockers from locking in on him and keeps his momentum moving forward to get to the QB. An FBS record of forced fumbles (16) and tackles for loss (75) don’t just happen by accident.

1. Kony Ealy, DE/OLB, Missouri

Kony Ealy
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kony Ealy, DE/OLB, Missouri

Kony Ealy
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There’s versatility galore with Ealy who lined up all over the defensive line and even at some standup outside linebacker for Missouri. Though he can come off the snap too high at times, it’s hard not to compare him to a fellow Mizzou alum in Aldon Smith given the similar build (6-foot-4, 273-pounds) and impressive array of skills. From swim moves to chops and slaps, Ealy is ready to explode into NFL backfields.


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