In the NFL there are certain positions where high caliber players are a must: quarterback, corner and my personal favorite, the pass rusher. The NFL has evolved into a passing league which has forced teams to invest heavily in signal callers and receivers on offense, and on defense we’ve seen more and more teams invest in corners and pass rushers.

The art of pass rushing is a combination of athleticism, technique and knowing yourself as well as your opponent. Let’s look at a few of the best duos that get to the quarterback.

1. Calais Campbell & Yannick Ngakoue (Sacksonville)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the most lethal pass rushing defensive line in the NFL. It even may go down as one of the greatestΒ  of all time one day. Calais Campbell (14.5 sacks), Yannick Ngakoue (12), Dante Fowler and Malik Jackson (8 each) made up 77% of the team’s 55 sacks. The Campbell/Ngakoue duo is great alone, but the entire Jacksonville defensive line deserves credit.

This play is an example of the whole front disrupting the pocket. Good coverage downfield forces the QB to hold the ball as Campbell and Jackson do an inside stunt. Ngakoue runs upfield and then comes down for the strip sack as Campbell hits a Big Man scoop and score. Masterful.

Calais Campbell is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL because he is so big and so athletic with the technique to play all over the line in any scheme. He’s 6’8”, 300 pounds and can lean like your favorite edge rusher at 31 years old. Ngakoue is obviously no slouch either.

Ngakoue loves a good chop-rip move. He excels at accelerating to the QB after clearing his hips.

The Jags defensive line is made up of ferocious pass rushers and they will get even better with 1st round pick Taven Bryan. Teams will have nightmares about them again this upcoming season.

2. Melvin Ingram & Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers)

When analysts think of current pass rushing duos, this is probably the first one to come to mind. Melvin Ingram entered the league in 2012 but it has taken him awhile to develop. Ingram missed 12 games in 2013 with a torn ACL and only acquired 4 sacks in 2014. However, Ingram showed why he was a first round draft pick and tallied 10.5 sacks in 2015, 8.5 in 2016 and 10.5 again in 2017 en route to a Pro Bowl selection.

Ingram can win with speed and power, as well as convert speed to power. This is the explosion he displayed at South Carolina and why he was such a high draft pick. I personally still have nightmares over that Georgia game back in 2011 where he singlehandedly beat my Bulldogs.

At 6’2”, 247 pounds, Ingram has the strength and athleticism to also use his finesse moves as a stand up in 3 technique. He constantly makes guards and tackles look silly with a dip + rip or a spin move.

And this move above is just filthy. I have seen spins to the inside of the offensive tackle, but I dont think I have ever seen a counter spin to the outside of the tackle. Ingram is truly a phenomenon. And so is his partner in crime.

While Ingram is more of a finesse rusher, Bosa brings the power. He uses his strength and hands to bull rush and long arm tackles into the quarterback. Don’t mistake Bosa’s strength and power for lack of speed and agility though; his get off and lateral quickness are on par with the best in the NFL.

A pass rusher’s hands and feet should move together with precision. Quick hands should be followed by quick feet. Bosa’s hands are so quick to spring opposing offensive linemen off of him and his feet and hips allow him to clear the linemen and get to the QB.

It is truly ridiculous how Bosa is so strong, so quick and so fast all in one package. He came into the league with the hype and he has achieved it so far. I don’t expect Bosa and Ingram to stop any time soon. And just for kicks, here are all their sacks from 2017.

3. Ryan Kerrigan & Preston Smith (Washington Redskins)

Ryan Kerrigan has been grossly underrated and underappreciated to everyone outside of the DC area. Kerrigan has failed to garner under 7.5 sacks ever since he’s been in the league (1st round pick in 2011) and is coming off of two straight seasons with double digit sacks. We at Breaking Football (especially Zach Hicks) appreciate Ryan Kerrigan.

Along with Drew Brees, Ryan Kerrigan is Purdue’s pride and joy. Kerrigan is a ferocious rusher that uses his hands and strength to bulldoze offensive linemen while also utilizing a great dip-rip-lean move.

Great hand placement and fast, strong hands are Kerrigan’s game. They allow Kerrigan to cause disruption anywhere along the front.

That hand placement and closing speed is beautiful. Appreciate Ryan Kerrigan people, but we also must appreciate his young counterpart Preston Smith as well.

Imagine this man being a 2 star recruit coming out of high school. I can’t, but somehow he was and Mississippi State helped mold him into a 2nd round draft pick for Washington. Smith uses his long arms to separate from OL and also uses some high level moves like the one above to beat hands consistently.

Joe Staley is a quality left tackle and Smith throws him like a rag doll. Smith’s length is fully on display in every rush.

Smith flashes a speed move with a chop-rip straight to Alex Smith. Preston Smith started off 2017 with 3 sacks in the first three games. If he can keep it up, Kerrigan and Smith will terrorize the rest of the league.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Terrell Suggs & Matt Judon (Ravens)
  • Julius Peppers & Mario Addison (Panthers)
  • Vic Beasley & Takkarist McKinley (Falcons)
  • Geno Atkins & Carl Lawson (Bengals)
  • Myles Garrett & Emmanuel Ogbah (Browns)
  • Von Miller & Bradley Chubb (Broncos)

About The Author P.J. Green

P.J. Green is a student-athlete and junior at Tusculum College. Green is an aspiring football coach/scout/player/media personality. Green has big goals but always wants football to be in his life no matter what. Please come at P.J. for funny hot takes.