There are few better than Freeney at rushing the quarterback, and he may very well be the most complete pass rusher in the NFL today.
Tom Brady was recently asked, "Who is the most intimidating player you face?" To which he replied, "Dwight Freeney."
"Every play with him is a game-changing play. Every time you throw the ball, Freeney is a factor."
Even without the star QB's endorsement, there are very few NFL fans and players that can bring the pressure like Freeney can on Sundays.
Drafted 11th overall in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Colts, he is their franchise record holder for sacks.
So for all the accolades and praise, why do you ask is he fifth on this list?
Let us forget for one moment that stopping the run is not his forte. Freeney is a pure pass rusher and one of the best. Despite those facts, a closer look at his production over the past five years shows an odd flux of production.
Following Freeney's 2004 and 2005 seasons in which he posted 16 and 11 sacks respectively, he went on to post back-to-back mediocre seasons of 5.5 and 3.5 sacks in 2006 and 2007. He would bounce back the following years and most recently put up 13.5 sacks on his way to his fifth Pro Bowl selection.
He is 30 years old and a speed rusher type of end, and as all speed rushers do, once he begins to slow down and lose a step his drop-off figures to be a considerable one. Freeney is getting up there in age and the proverbial glass ceiling seems to loom on the horizon.
Despite this however, Freeney continues to terrorize opposing QB's and make his presence felt on the field. Freeney put up a whopping 47 QB pressures last year with 17 QB hits and credited with 13.5 sacks.
Improved secondary play along with the return of Bob Sanders figures to have Freeney converting a few more of those pressures into sacks. The Colts in 2009 registered 26 takeaways with a relatively young and unproven secondary.
Opposite Robert Mathis, the Colts one-two punch at their end position is one of the very best in the NFL.