By John Turney
It's tight, very tight. And the last three weeks will be the determination because there is not a clear top player, in our view, but there are a handful that are standing out as the best 4-3 ends this year.
The ones, to me, that are the most fun to watch are Demarcus Lawrence
and Cameron Jordan
and we have them (narrowly as the top two). Lawrence has 9.5 sacks and 10.0 sacks for a total of 19.5 sacks + stuffs (s+s) and is playing on a top run defense and top total defensive team.
Jordan is playing on a top run-stopping team as well and has 12.0 sacks and 5 run stuffs for a total of 17.0 s+s. Jordan will move around some, even standing up as a linebacker giving the Saints a 3-4 look from time to time.
had 4.5 stuffs and 11.5 sacks for a total of 16 plays behind the line of scrimmage. He was hot in the middle of the season and has four games left to show his impact.
has 3.0 stuffs and 12.5 sacks for 15.5 s+s. He's also a treat to watch. he has a chance to move up and seems to be getting hot in recent weeks.
, now a full-time defensive end moving from a 3-4 OLber and 40 DE in nickel, but his role isn't that much different but he's still making plays but not at the rate he did last year. Jones has 12.5 sacks nad 4 stuffs for a total of 16.5 s+s, however, the Cardinals run defense, after being terrific last year is anything but terrific this year. However, Jones has been good, more steady than great, though.
doesn't quite have the numbers as the others but in the ole' "eye test" he passes. When we see him play he seems to always have an impact on a resurging defense.
Jason Pierre-Paul has the sacks, but we will see if he can blow up in the next month. Lots of things go into our decisions, but we also follow the Pro Scout, Inc. axiom "Blue players make blue plays" and for a defensive end the big plays are sacks, stuffs, forced fumbles, QB hits—things that can impact games. Also, we are looking forward to reviewing the film as well to see who best passes the "eye test".
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