The best pass rushing unit in the NFL isn’t measured just by sacks, but by its overall ability to get pressure on the quarterback and causing some sort of disruption. By that measure, the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs are the best in the NFL.
The offense is struggling, but the Ravens defense is doing quite well, especially when it comes to getting to the quarterback. They’re 7th in the NFL with 13 so far, but it’s more than just sacks obviously. Elvis Dumervil has been extremely efficient, even if he has been used extensively in the team’s sub package, with 15 quarterback disruptions and two sacks. Terrell Suggs has 28 disruptions and 4 sacks so far this season, but with a higher usage rate.
The Titans have been a pleasant surprise, despite Jake Locker not doing anything too impressive or Chris Johnson living up to his promise of big numbers this year. The Titans have 14 sacks so far this season, led by Derrick Morgan, who has two sacks, five quarterback hits and seven hurries, building on his strong season from last year. He’s helped by defensive tackle Jurrell Casey who has 3 sacks and 17 quarterback disruptions so far this season.
The Lions aren’t getting sacks, but they’re still getting to quarterbacks, led by Ndamukong Suh, the best defensive tackle in the game. Despite losing some talent during the offseason at the D-Line, the Lions have Willie Young and rookie Ezekiel Ansah doing an excellent job at getting to quarterbacks and making them feel the pressure.
The Seahawks went out and got Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in the offseason, complementing nicely with Chris Clemons coming back from his injury, and soon will have Bruce Irvin back from him. That means plenty of speed and talent on the wings, as both Avril and Bennett are ranked in the top 10 of pass-rushing productivity score of all defensive players according to PFF.
Kansas City Chiefs
The main reason the Chiefs have been so successful has been their defense, not Alex Smith playing a quiet, conservative game. Tamba Hali has been unstoppable with three sacks, two more hits and 24 quarterback hurries, and his partner in crime, Justin Houston, has been just as effective despite playing less snaps. Their push up the middle thanks to Dontari Poe has them ranked as the best pass-rushing unit in the NFL.
Stats via PFF