Who is the NFL’s best 4-3 defensive end?
During last year's NFL 1,000 series, all defensive ends were combined in a ranking that we later found to be confusing to fans. Why scout, grade and rank Cameron Wake using the same criteria as Justin Smith when they are asked to do very different things on each play?
That led to a revised look at defensive ends—and outside linebackers—in the 2013 NFL 1,000 rankings. The 50 players you’ll see next are all 4-3 defensive ends, or at least they played the majority of their snaps there during the 2012 season.
They are ranked based on our team's study of film from the 2013 season. A player's career achievements are not taken into consideration. Nor is his potential.
Players qualified with a minimum of 200 snaps. We evaluated their ability to rush the quarterback and stop the run. The scoring, out of a possible 100 points, was weighted to give a player's pass-rushing ability more importance.
In cases where two players' total scores matched, we broke the tie based on which player we'd rather have on our team right now.