Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Haason Reddick—Big Results in a Small Package

 By John Turney 
Haason Reddick
Haason Reddick is having his third fine season in a row (with three different teams) and this season he was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl selection. With a week to go in the 2022 season, he is second in the NFL in sacks with 16.0 and is tied for the league lead in forced fumbles with five.

Over the last three seasons, no NFL player had forced more fumbles than Reddick and only Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt have more sacks than Reddick's 39.5 (with one week to go in the 2022 season).

Remarkably, Reddick is not the kind of physical behemoth that some of his fellow NFL edge rushers are in terms of height and weight being listed at 240 pounds and standing 6 feet 1 inch tall.

When only looking at the edge rushers who play a similar position—linebackers in a base defense and essentially standup defensive ends in nickel you can usually see quite a difference in size. One who is kind of close is Leonard Floyd who is also listed at 240 pounds but he is four inches taller at 6-5. 

Then looking at other top guys who are within five to ten pounds, Micah Parsons, for example, is listed at 245 pounds but is 6-3. T.J. Watt is 6-4, 252 so both have much more length, as it is called. it used to be called height.

Most of the dominant edge-backers like Matt Judon, Za'Darius Smith, and Bradley Chubb are 6-3, 6-4, and 6-4 respectively, and weigh in the 275-pound range. We could go on.

So, when Reddick notched his 16th sack he became only the second player who stood 6-1 or less and who weighed 240 or less to do so. 
Joel Williams
The other was Joel Williams, a Falcon outside linebacker who had 16.0 sacks in 1980, two years before sacks became official. Williams was 6-1 and 222 pounds (if that).

The Falcons played a 3-4 defense and Williams blitzed from the right side with abandon. He was paired with rookie left outside linebacker Al Richardson who was 6-2, 211 pounds who excelled in coverage and was the drop backer in the 3-4 defense and picked off seven passes. It was quite an effective defense and the unit was fifth in the NFL in fewest points allowed picked off 26 passes and sacked the quarterback 46 times and the Falcons went 12-4 and won the NFC West. 

Andy Robustelli
Additionally, Reddick is only one of two players to have three double-digit sack seasons and stand 6-1 or under, and weigh 240 pounds or under. The other is Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli who did it (unofficially) from 1961-63.

Along with Williams and Robustelli, James Harrison has to be mentioned. He's listed at 242 pounds, just two pounds over our arbitrary cutoff but he was 6 feet even so he has to be included. However, the eye test suggests he may have weighed more than 242 but he did total 16.0 sacks in 2008 en route to his AP Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Another who needs to be mentioned is Robert Mathis. He is listed as 6-2, 245 but he was not that tall. He's under 6-1 but for some reason, the Colts always listed him almost two inches more than he actually stood. They also listed him as heavier than he was. In 2013 he recorded 19.5 sacks so readers can decide if they want to include him in this small man's club or not.

Elvis Dumervil surpassed 16.0 sacks twice, with 17.0 in 2009 and 2014. He's listed at 250 in 2009 and 255 in 2014. He stood 5-11. Other short players with 16.0+ sacks in a season are Dwight Freeney (268 pounds) and Aaron Donald (280) but they far exceed the weight needed to be considered "small".

So, 42 years after Joel Williams, the 222-pound rush backer logged 16.0 sacks, Haasan Reddick is standing up for the little guy—showing one does not have to be 6-4, 265 to be an effective edge rusher.

He's compensated with great leverage and bend and hand use, and of course, quickness.

Well done. 


  1. Reminds me of a successful version of Corey Moore the old Virginia Tech pass rushing phenom. Second in all-time sacks at VT and 2nd in single-season sacks at VT both behind Bruce Smith. Alas, he was 5'11" and 223 Lbs. (ran a 4.6 as the combine) and despite winning the Nagurski and Lombardi, he was drafted in the 3rd round and played only 10 Games over a 2-year NFL career. Just too small.

  2. It was released in 2021, but could you comment on The Athletic 100?


    1. would take time to go through, but I would have Larry Allen ahead of Bruce Matthews, Faulk ahead of Tomlinson. Unitas higher than Manning. Hirsch does not belong. Buchanan does not belong. Adrian Peterson - maybe.

      A very good list, though. An excellent article