Every offseason, the folks over at ESPN put out a series of top-10 rankings where they survey over 50 NFL executives, scouts, players, and coaches on who the best players are in the league across all positions.
Each person surveyed ranks their top 10 and then those rankings are averaged and calculated to produce a final list. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, whose authoring these lists, began the series with edge rushers which debuted on Tuesday.
On this year’s first rendition of the rankings, the Chargers placed a pair of stars among the top 10 in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.
Bosa came in just behind his younger brother at number four. The two ahead of them are T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett.
Here’s what Fowler and the surveyed group had to say about Bosa:
“The elder Bosa didn’t earn enough top-three votes for a higher ranking, but he appeared on every single ballot,” said Fowler. “In five healthy seasons, Bosa has won Defensive Rookie of the Year and made four Pro Bowls. And he just produced his fourth double-digit-sack season (10.5) and a career-high seven forced fumbles in 2021.”
“‘He always has a plan. He’s setting up his moves for later in the game, and he’s got great technique,’ an NFL personnel evaluator said. ‘He’s just a classic edge rusher. He’s a nightmare for a tackle because of the way he keeps you guessing.’”
Bosa was double-teamed on 23% of his pass rushes last year, but that rate could decline with the arrival of Khalil Mack in Los Angeles via an offseason trade. That means potentially even more production for Bosa in 2022.
“Relentless effort,” an AFC offensive coach said. “He’s the guy you have to worry about on every snap.”
Joey Bosa with a new sack celebration? ♂️ pic.twitter.com/NdSseZNwzk— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) December 12, 2021
And here’s what they had to say about Mack:
“Mack has slipped eight spots over two years, which is sort of understandable given the lack of raw production. His last double-digit-sack season came in 2018. But foot surgery that cost him 10 games last year masked solid play in limited action.”
“‘Six sacks in [seven] games is pretty good,’ an NFL scouting coordinator said.”
“Evaluators say you can’t overstate the impact of Mack playing alongside bookend Joey Bosa, and how the two can challenge each other. The Chargers acquired Mack in an offseason trade with Chicago.”
“‘Major toughness and physicality,’ a high-ranking AFC official said. ‘Football guy. Toughness. Playmaking.’”
“Detractors argue his 76.5 sacks over eight NFL seasons simply hasn’t been good enough, though. ‘Teams have always loved his potential, and he’s shown the ability to be great,’ a veteran NFL defensive player said. ‘It just hasn’t always happened.’”
If you weren’t excited already about this duo, they were the only pair of teammates to both land amongst the top 10.
The full list of the top 10 is as follows, along with the honorable mentions:
1.) T.J. Watt
2.) Myles Garrett
3.) Nick Bosa
4.) Joey Bosa
5.) Maxx Crosby
6.) Von Miller
7.) Chandler Jones
8.) Brian Burns
9.) Khalil Mack
10.) Cameron Jordan
HM.) Danielle Hunter, Trey Hendrickson, Shaq Barrett, Demarcus Lawrence, Chase Young