Ranking the NFL's 10 most valuable edge defenders of the 2023 season

2T008RY San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) rushes during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct 1, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Nick Bosa is the most valuable edge defender in the NFL: The 49ers star is tied for the league lead in total pressures.

Myles Garrett continues to shine: The Browns edge defender leads the position in PFF pass-rush grade.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The NFL has an embarrassment of riches at the edge position right now, which becomes apparent anytime you put together a list like this, as thin margins separate the elite at the position.

Here are the most valuable players at the position through 14 weeks, according to PFF WAR.

1. Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

Wins above replacement: 0.77

Bosa’s 82 total pressures are tied with Micah Parsons for the most in the NFL through 14 weeks. The 49ers star leads all NFL defenders with 32 combined sacks and hits, and his 93.1 PFF grade is on track for a career-high.

2. Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

Wins above replacement: 0.73

Tied with Bosa for the NFL lead in total pressures, Parsons also trails only Myles Garrett in pass-rush grade (93.4). He has missed just 8.8% of the tackles he has attempted this season.

3. Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns

Wins above replacement: 0.68

Garrett's 94.3 pass-rush grade ranks first at the position through 14 weeks. That would be a career-high for the Browns star, who has racked up 58 total pressures, including 25 combined sacks and hits.

4. Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders

Wins above replacement: 0.56

Crosby has been elite both as a pass-rusher and in run defense this season, racking up 72 total pressures from 503 pass-rushing snaps in 13 games. His 91.2 PFF run-defense grade leads all players at the position.

5. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

Wins above replacement: 0.42

Tied with Aidan Hutchinson and Trey Hendrickson for the fourth-highest PFF pass-rushing grade among edge defenders this season at 90.2, Watt has racked up 65 total pressures from 446 pass-rushing snaps. He has picked up 29 combined sacks and quarterback hits, and he has also forced three fumbles.

6. Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers

Wins above replacement: 0.41

The NFL’s sack leader through 14 weeks of the season, Mack has produced 65 total pressures, 21 combined sacks and hits, from 424 pass-rushing snaps. He’s also been a standout against the run, with his 90.5 run-defense grade rankings second to only Crosby.

7. Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions

Wins above replacement: 0.38

Hutchinson trails only Parsons and Bosa with 76 total pressures through the first 14 weeks of the season. His sack total is the lowest among all edge defenders with a 90.0-plus pass-rush grade, but he has consistently brought pressure for the Lions.

8. Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars

Wins above replacement: 0.34

Allen ranks fifth among edge defenders in total pressures this season (69). Coming on 406 pass-rushing snaps, 27 of those pressures have been either a sack or a quarterback hit, while the Jaguars star has also forced a pair of fumbles.

9. DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys

Wins above replacement: 0.34

Lawrence has been good as a pass-rusher, earning a 79.9 PFF pass-rushing grade and registering 41 total pressures from 288 pass-rushing snaps. He’s been elite as a run defender, though, and is one of just three players at the position to earn a 90.0-plus run-defense grade through 14 weeks.

10. Alex Highsmith, Pittsburgh Steelers

Wins above replacement: 0.31

Highsmith is a good all-round player, the perfect complement to a player like Watt in Pittsburgh. He has registered 51 total pressures from 392 pass-rushing snaps. His 81.2 run-defense grade also ranks seventh at his position, and he has missed just 6.4% of the tackles he has attempted this season.


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