- It’s not often that pass rushers from the same NFL Draft class all become stars.
- However, that was very much the case in 2011 and a wild stat puts the class into perspective.
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When the NFL Draft begins on Thursday evening, seven(ish) defensive end and outside linebackers are projected to hear their names called in the first round. Obviously, mock drafts are not a perfect science, but that is the general expectation.
In addition, of those seven, there is no telling how many will become superstars. For all we know, all seven could become busts or mediocre players who coast by as second-stringers. While that is probably not how things will play out, it’s possible.
Regardless of how many of the seven potential first round pass-rushers are selected on Thursday, it will be hard for the class to match the insane productivity of pass-rushers selected in 2011.
From that class, five players have recorded 100+ sacks in the last 11 years and one is not far off from that number. To put that in comparison, there has not been another class since 2007 that has come anywhere close.
Looking at the 2011 draft, and it's just insane for pass-rushers. Already five 100-sack guys (Von Miller, Cam Jordan, JJ Watt, Justin Houston, Robert Quinn) with Ryan Kerrigan at 96.5. Every other draft since 2007 combined … has produced two 100-sack guys.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 26, 2022
Here is how the insane class of pass-rushers broke down:
- J.J. Watt — 1st Round, No. 11 overall — 108 sacks
- Justin Houston — 3rd Round, No. 70 overall — 102 sacks
- Cam Jordan — 1st Round, No. 24 overall — 107 sacks
- Von Miller — 1st Round, No. 2 overall — 126 sacks
- Robert Quinn — 1st Round, No. 14 overall — 101 sacks
- Ryan Kerrigan — 1st Round, No. 16 overall — 96.5 sacks
That’s pretty insane. Obviously, Houston is the outlier there as a non-first rounder, but all five of the other first round picks on that list are set to record 100+ sacks by the end of next season. The defensive talent that came from the 2011 NFL Draft is hard to match or top.