ESPN ranks Arizona Cardinals’ Chandler Jones as top-10 edge rusher
Jul 11, 2021, 11:15 AM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Despite having his 2020 season cut short due to injury, Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones is still viewed as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
Jones had arguably the best season of his career in 2019 with the Cardinals when he finished with 19.0 sacks, 53 tackles and a league-leading eight forced fumbles. He tallied 1.0 sack and 11 tackles in only five games last season.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler ranks Jones as the fifth-best edge rusher heading into 2021. Fowler and coaches around the league believe the three-time Pro Bowler can continue his 2019 dominance for years to come in Arizona.
‘I still don’t understand why the [New England] Patriots let him go,’ an AFC defensive coach said. ‘His bend, hands and flexibility are still elite. Most guys his size [6-foot-5, 265 pounds] aren’t flexible, but he gets lower than you’d think and that tackles can’t handle. And I don’t think a bicep injury will change that.’
Even though Jones played five games last season, he dropped only three spots from his second overall ranking in 2020.
Assuming he avoids injury, the Cardinals outside linebacker should have no problem moving up the rankings this season.
Jones now has a partner in crime on the interior, five-time Pro Bowler and former Houston Texan defensive end J.J. Watt.
Watt could take a lot of attention off Jones, which will allow Jones to have more one-on-one matchups on the edge.
Since 2012, Jones (97.0) and Watt (95.5) rank first and second in sacks.
Now, the two are together and are expected to cause real havoc for offensive lines this season.