The List: Top 5 pass-rushing defensive linemen

In this week's version of The List, Joe Theismann breaks down the top 5 pass-rushing defensive linemen.

Originally Published: April 23, 2007
By Joe Theismann |

When great pass rushers are going well, they can wreak havoc on any offense and take even the best quarterbacks out of their comfort zone. Here are my top five pass-rushing defensive linemen.

1. Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers: There is going to be a lot of speed on this list, but no one on it has the combination of speed, size and ferocity that Peppers has in his arsenal. It's fun watching him manhandle offensive linemen and destroy quarterbacks.

2. Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins: He might be the best all-around defensive lineman in the game and definitely the most versatile. It's going to be fun watching him with Joey Porter and Zach Thomas as threats also this season.

3. Jevon Kearse, Philadelphia Eagles: There was a time when "The Freak" easily would have been the No. 1 pick for this list, but injuries have slowed him down a little bit. He's still one of the premier rushers in all of football, though, and hopefully he'll play a full 16-game season to prove to the naysayers that he's back.

4. Aaron Kampman, Green Bay Packers: He's one of the most underrated pass rushers in the league. He relies not only on speed and athleticism, but also his guile to get to the quarterback.

5. Will Smith, New Orleans Saints: He can stop the run very well, but his greatest asset to the Saints is his ability to rush the passer. He can get around the edge with a bull rush or a quick inside move. Tackles hate seeing him on the other side.

Joe Theismann

Football analyst
Former college and pro football star Joe Theismann has served as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He also is frequently heard on ESPN Radio, regularly contributes to and has contributed to the NFL Draft.