The players listed below did not have double-digit sacks in 2018. However, that should be an achievable goal for them in 2019.
Jonathan Allen, Redskins – 8 2018 sacks: During 2018, we got a pretty good idea of just how good Allen can be. His 61 tackles were enhanced by his sack total and his 15 QB hits.
Playing in the same front seven as Ryan Kerrigan and the sneaky good Matt Ioannidis should be very enticing. Additionally, his college teammate Da’Ron Payne should feel more comfortable in the middle with his rookie season in the rearview mirror.
Allen was drafted to anchor this defensive line. Last year things started coming together on that front. It does not take Nostradamus to figure out that Allen should have a couple of double-digit sack seasons in his future.
Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars – 9.5 2018 sacks: The Jags struggled in all facets of the game in 2018. Ngakoue lacked consistency after he had recorded 20 sacks in first two seasons. He dropped down from 12 sacks in 2017 to 9.5 in 2018. That is not a worrisome decline. Are you currently lacking confidence while staring at Ngakoue on your roster? If so, you must know that what did not decline was his QB hits, after posting a stout 23 in 2017. He blasted past that number recording 33 QB hits in 2018. It appears he has found at a steady plateau.
Jadeveon Clowney, Texans (FA) – 9 2018 sacks: It might surprise you to find out that Clowney has never had double digits in any one NFL season. Did you scoff when you saw I included him in this article? Facts are facts, and Clowney has not dominated like we all thought he could.
With free agency looming and Clowney’s injury history, I would not be surprised if signs a one-year, prove-it deal somewhere. That will mean full-force Clowney in pursuit of as many sacks as he can get. He will be just 26 years old when the season starts. Who knows? Maybe we will get lucky and he will sign somewhere to be a 4-3 DE!
Medium Levels of interest:
Henry Anderson, Jets – 7 2018 sacks: Confession time for your’s truly: I have been on Anderson since he was a junior in college. Seriously, his super hot girlfriend has liked several of my tweets. When he was given rebirth with the Jets, I quietly danced like no one was looking. So, yeah, I have followed his career intricately. He overcame some pretty gruesome injuries. Finally, in 2018 it all came together. After having just three total sacks in first 29 career games, he shocked (I for one was NOT surprised) with a team-high seven. That was two more than the all-world Leonard Williams could muster.
I am ecstatic about the season ahead for Anderson. He is strong and big enough to move all over the d-line. His relentless motor has not peaked. Do not question me, just go get him now!
Matt Judon, Ravens – 7 2018 sacks: This former small school standout was built to play the edge for Baltimore. He is strong and fast (4.73 40-time at 275 pounds) and he has 15 sacks over the last two seasons.
Before you comment below that the Ravens draft three OLBs every year, just know that I have already made that joke many times. They have actually drafted just five edge players since 2016, including Judon.
So far he has been a situational pass rusher, but at the very least the Ravens are using him correctly. This upcoming season will also be a contract year for Judon. The three-year veteran has 19 career sacks. Former Raven Pernell McPhee got a major deal after just 17 total sacks in his first four seasons.
Matt Ioannidis, Redskins – 7.5 2018 sacks: New statistic idea: count the time it takes from snap to sack. If this was a real analytic I believe the “Greek God” Ioannidis would be near the top of the leaderboard.
In 2018, Ioannidis sacked Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, and Aaron Rodgers. These are all players who should know when to bail to avoid a sack. Unfortunately (for their sake), Ioannidis’s charge was too swift. He also sacked Eli Manning two and a half times. He really has a knack for connecting speed and power with his pass rush.
Deatrich Wise, Patriots – 4.5 2018 sacks: Stop me if you heard this little tale before: Belichick develops a pass rusher into an eight to ten sack potential player annually. Then, poof, he trades them in their prime for a high pick!
In two seasons in the league (both with New England) Wise has 9.5 sacks. He is built like former Pat powerhouse Chandler Jones (see above paragraph). His arm usage has steadily improved. As 2019 progresses, I expect the always creative Pats to move Wise up and down their front-seven. Also, do not forget Trey Flowers is a free agent.
Sam Hubbard, Bengals – 6 2018 sacks: Do we not always perk up (like a puppy when the treat drawer opens) when a rookie gets six sacks. Five sacks seem almost incidental, but six means we have a potential future stallion in our midst.
Hubbard was roughly a 50% snap share guy during 2018. That’s was a solid percentage for any rookie taken outside the top 10 overall picks. The former third-rounder also gathered 39 total tackles. The potential is steaming for this born and bred Cincinnati native.