Pro Football Focus just dropped of their 2022 edge rusher rankings and tiers, and not so surprisingly, both Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence made the cut. While they weren’t ranked very close together, PFF did speak pretty highly on each player’s behalf, which in itself, is encouraging for what could be the Cowboys best pass rushing tandem this season.
So, where did Parsons and Lawrence end up in PFF’s 2022 edge rushing rankings and tiers? And, do you agree with where they were finally slotted?
TIER 1: DPOY CANDIDATES
Here’s what PFF had to say about Micah Parsons:
Micah Parsons was a real Defensive Player of the Year candidate last season as a rookie thanks in large part to his pass-rushing prowess. Ostensibly still an off-ball linebacker, Parsons generated the best pressure rate of any pass-rusher in the league (22.4%) and was doing so as a true edge rusher, rather than simply taking advantage of favorable matchups against running backs. Parsons may not play as much as an edge rusher, but he’s already shown he’s an elite one if he does line up there.
One of the biggest, and most intriguing, mysteries heading into the 2022 season is how Dan Quinn will utilize Parsons’ unique skill set. It’s hard to justify not using him more as a pass rusher after he was so dominant playing that role as a rookie in 2021, but then again, he was equally as good playing as an off-ball linebacker. That creates a bit of a catch-22, because he’s arguably one of the best in the league at both positions. However he’s deployed in his sophomore season, you can bet he will be among the favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year this season.
TIER 4: UNDERRATED VETERANS
Here’s what PFF had to say about DeMarcus Lawrence:
Demarcus Lawrence is underrated because of low sack totals in his past three seasons, but his pressure rates, run defense prowess and PFF grades have remained elite. Sometimes sacks come with those data points, and other times they don’t. Lawrence is still an elite playmaker when healthy.
Lawrence being ranked as the 16th best pass rusher and in tier 4 is a little bit surprising, but not so much when you read PFF’s reasoning. Pass rusher’s will forever be measured by their sack totals, but what D-Law does on a down-to-down basis, both against the run and pass, doesn’t show up on the stat sheets. He is a complete package and still performing at an elite level when healthy. Unfortunately, a few injuries over the last couple of years have slowed him. Categorizing him is an underrated veteran is probably fair heading into 2022.
And, if you’re wondering about where former Dallas Cowboys pass rusher Randy Gregory landed in the rankings and in which tier, here you go.
TIER 3: INJURY/OTHER CONCERNS
Here’s what PFF had to say about Randy Gregory:
Randy Gregory’s concern isn’t injuries as much as it is suspensions, given his history. He has kept it on the straight and narrow lately, but it would be difficult to completely ignore his career before the past two years of breakout play, or the fact that his NFL resume includes just 1,474 NFL snaps, only around half of which have been plus play.
Gregory landed fairly high in PFF’s rankings and in the injury/other concern tier. Availability has always been an issue with the Cowboys former 2015 second-round pick. Suspension after suspension, and injuries, continually kept him off the field over the years. When available and healthy, he’s flashed elite traits of potentially being one of the top pass rusher’s in the league. It’s one of the reasons Dallas stood by him over the years and still tried to re-sign him this offseason before he decided to join the Denver Broncos instead.