We all love best-of lists, but what if people around the NFL created their own? To preview the 2022 NFL season, we surveyed more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions, from edge rusher to interior offensive lineman. This is the third edition of these rankings, and there are several players who moved up or dropped from last year's lists. Today, we focus on the edge rushers.
Here's how our process worked: Voters gave us their best 10 players at a position, then we compiled the results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, hundreds of interviews, research and film-study help from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. In total, more than 50 voters submitted a ballot on at least one position, and in many cases all positions. We had several ties, so we broke them with the help of additional voting and follow-up calls with our rankers. Each section is packed with quotes and nuggets from the voters on every guy -- even the honorable mentions.
The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2022. This is not a five-year projection or an achievement award. Who are the best players today? Pretty simple.
We rolled out a position per day over 11 days. Here's the schedule: edge rushers (July 5), defensive tackles (July 6), off-ball linebackers (July 7), cornerbacks (July 8), safeties (July 9), interior offensive linemen (July 10), quarterbacks (July 11), running backs (July 12), wide receivers (July 13), tight ends (July 14) and offensive tackles (July 15).
Age ain't nothing but a sack total in the NFL pass-rush market. Several edge rushers in their 30s are holding down spots on this list because their games hold up, despite young stars pushing for supremacy. While the speed positions -- corner and receiver, for example -- can lean youthful, older pass-rushers can stay productive because they have a plan, they're savvy and they can win when the game is on the line. Just look at Super Bowl LVI, where 11-year vet Von Miller turned up the heat on the Bengals to help secure a championship for the Rams.
It is youth, however, that dominates the very top of this list, including a pair of under-27 siblings jostling for position among the best edge rushers in the NFL. Let's look at some of the NFL's top game-wreckers as ranked by execs, coaches, scouts and players around the league.