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Ranking AFC West EDGEs: Maxx Crosby tops a strong group

Ranking the Top 5 edge rushers heading into 2023

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Maxx Crosby
Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Heading into the 2023 campaign, the AFC West has a plethora of quality edge rushers. From Maxx Crosby to Chandler Jones and Khalil Mack, there’s no shortage of sacks within the position group as the division has hundreds of combined career quarterback takedowns. But, individually, how do they stack up against each other?

1) Maxx Crosby

Across the entire league, no edge rusher has put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks over the last two seasons than Crosby. In 2021, he led the NFL with 101 pressures during the regular season and followed up that performance with 81 last season, the third-most at his position. The 2019 fourth-round pick has also improved year after year as a run defender, earning 76.7 and 82.5 run defense grades from Pro Football Focus over the last two seasons respectively. He also led all edges with 41 defensive stops against the run last fall.

2) Khalil Mack

Mack’s longevity and consistency land him on the No. 2 spot in this list. Outside of his last season with the Chicago Bears where he only played in seven games, the former Raider has had at least 54 pressures every year of his career. He totaled 56 a year ago which was tied for 16th league-wide and trailed only Crosby in the division. Mack has also managed to post three elite (90 or higher) PFF run defense grades and four more in the 80s during his nine-year career.

3) Joey Bosa

Had it not been for injuries, Bosa could easily leap-frog or swap spots with his teammate. Bosa has made the Pro Bowl and racked up double-digit sacks in the three seasons that he’s played in a full slate of games, however, he’s missed 31 contests with various ailments in the other four campaigns. Granted, he did make the Pro Bowl in 2020 and had 10.5 sacks as a rookie while missing time. That just goes to show how disruptive he can be when he’s on the field, he just struggles to stay healthy.

4) Chandler Jones

There’s no doubt that Jones had a down year in his first season with the Silver and Black. Last year was the first time in his career that he played in at least 15 games and didn’t have at least 10 sacks. He finished 2022 with just 4.5 quarterback takedowns, three of which came in one contest against a beat-up Los Angeles Chargers offensive line. That being said, the 11-year veteran did still produce 47 pressures a year ago to finish in fourth place among AFC West edge defenders.

5) Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory is another guy who has been good when he’s on the field, he just hasn’t been on the field much during his career. For example, the six-year pro had 19 pressures in Weeks 1-4 last season—the most in the division and fifth-most league-wide at the position—until a knee injury limited him to just two games and 33 snaps for the rest of the campaign. That’s kind of been the story of Gregory’s time in the NFL as he’s missed 40 contests for one reason or another but still has 18.5 career sacks.

Honorable mention: George Karlaftis, Baron Browning

As a rookie, George Karlaftis finished third among AFC West edge rushers with 48 pressures last season. Baron Browning was sixth with 38 despite not starting until Week 6 and missing two games with a hip injury. Browning showed so much promise a year ago that the Denver Broncos felt comfortable trading away Bradley Chubb midseason, paving the way for him to have a strong campaign in 2023 as a full-time starter.