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Khalil Mack joins J.J. Watt among the NFL's best pass rushers

J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack have 27.5 sacks combined this season. Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon, Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack showed us how a pass rusher can completely take over a ball game. With five sacks during the second half of an upset win over the Denver Broncos, the Raiders' rising star used power at the point of attack and speed off the ball to consistently collapse the edge of the pocket.

Mack, who now leads the NFL with 14 sacks, has arrived. He's legit. And the numbers mesh with the tape. But where does the second-year pro rank in the discussion of the top pass rushers in the NFL?

With Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn on the shelf for the season with injuries, let's break down the most feared pass rushers that are currently playing in today's game, while also taking a look at their signature moves. From J.J. Watt to Aaron Donald, here are the 10 players who consistently impact protection schemes and put the quarterback on the ground.


1. DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans: 13.5 sacks

At 6-foot-5, 289 pounds, Watt is the most dominant defensive player in the game; a guy who commands double- and even triple-team blocks in protection. The Texans' 3-4 defensive end is the perfect example of a pass rusher who can convert speed to power at the point of attack and he brings a variety of counter moves to the stadium. With strong hands, explosive power on contact and the natural speed to turn the corner, Watt can whip opposing offensive tackles (or guards when he slides inside) using technique and his upper-tier athleticism. Plus, he never stops playing. The effort level? It's awesome. Hey, you want to leave a tackle in a true one-on-one situation versus Watt? No chance. You are just asking for your quarterback to get lit up. Watt is too big, too physical and too fast for that stuff.

Signature Move: It's the "rip." A classic technique taught at all levels with Watt engaging the blocker, leaning and using the "rip" move to create an edge.