The defensive line group set to hit free agency is filled with a few premium edge defenders and tackles. The depth of each group is strong. Five honorable mentions just missed the cut here. On the edge, Arden Key and Dorance Armstrong are two solid players. At tackle, Harrison Phillips, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Justin Jones were also tough to leave off. Let’s assess the top 10 defensive linemen set to reach NFL free agency.
Be sure to check out all of our other NFL content.
10. B.J. Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
After a slow start to his career with the New York Giants, Hill was traded to the Bengals in late August. He went on to have his best year in his fourth season. Hill attained success as a pass rusher with 5.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits while being a core contributor to the Bengals’ Super Bowl run. He will turn 27 in April and should build on his first successful season.
9. Rasheem Green, Seattle Seahawks
Green just had a great breakout season in 2021. He will only turn 25 in May and should be entering his prime years. Green has a big frame which allows him to be deployed across the defensive line. He will offer great versatility to whoever signs him. In terms of getting after the quarterback, Green was productive a year ago, totaling 6.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits. He is a talented young player who will have a good market.
8. Folorunso Fatukasi, New York Jets
Fatukasi spent his first four seasons with the Jets where he accomplished great things. Since 2019, he occupied a significant role on the Jets’ defensive line. Fatukasi has earned a reputation as a great run-stopping nose tackle. Over the last three years, he has totaled 18 tackles for loss. He possesses the size and toughness to play in an odd-front to be successful. Fatukasi will have many suitors in free agency.
7. D.J. Jones, San Francisco 49ers
Jones spent the first five years of his career with the 49ers. He played his best in 2021, posting a career-high of 10 tackles for loss. Over the last three years, he has even had production as a pass rusher. Jones can play in an aggressive style front and be dominant. Heading into his sixth season at 27 years old, Jones should remain one of the better run-stopping defensive tackles in the game.
6. Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys
Gregory played in 12 games last year and had some of the best success throughout his career. He is approaching Year 8 and will turn 30 in November. Last season, Gregory finished with six sacks and 17 quarterback hits. He brings a ton of size and athletic ability to a defensive front. The Cowboys seem likely to bring him back. On the market, though, a few teams may be looking for the talented pass rusher.
5. Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
After spending the last six years with the Cardinals, Jones is set to be a free agent. He will play this upcoming season at 32 years old and should have enough left for a winning team. In 2021, Jones had 10.5 sacks and 26 quarterback hits. Jones brings a ton of size on the edge for a front. Teams looking to upgrade their pass rush and make a run could benefit from adding Jones.
4. Von Miller, Los Angeles Rams
Miller just won his second Super Bowl and looked rejuvenated for the Rams on their run to win it all. He will turn 33 later this month and enter Year 12 in 2022. In eight games with the Rams, Miller had five sacks. In total, he had 9.5 in 2021. He also had 17 quarterback hits. Similar to Jones, anticipate Miller wanting to go to a team with a chance to make a playoff run.
3. Uchenna Nwosu, Los Angeles Chargers
Nwosu is a fascinating young player who looks to be entering his prime. He will play most of this upcoming season at 25 years old. Over the last two years, Nwosu has had 9.5 sacks. In terms of quarterback hits, Nwosu had by far a career-best in 2021 with 17. It seems like Nwosu will have a strong market in free agency as a young edge pass rusher.
2. Haason Reddick, Carolina Panthers
Over the last two years, Reddick has broken out and been a productive pass rusher. In 2020, he had 12.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits. Last season, Reddick recorded 11 sacks and 18 quarterback hits. He will enter his sixth season and turn 28 in September. Reddick offers a ton of speed and athletic ability on the edge. With his recent production, Reddick will have a strong market.
1. Emmanuel Ogbah, Miami Dolphins
Ogbah just completed two great seasons with the Dolphins. He had nine sacks in each of the last two years, as well as 21 quarterback hits in 2020 and 24 in 2021. As an edge pass rusher, Ogbah offers a combination of size and speed. He is entering his seventh NFL season and will turn 29 in November. Ogbah will have a lot of teams trying to sign him.
Follow Ryan Moran on Twitter @_Ryan_Moran_
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images