25 NFL Pass-Rushers Who Will Give QBs Nightmares in 2011

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25 NFL Pass-Rushers Who Will Give QBs Nightmares in 2011
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The horror movie industry has evolved.

Once upon a time, the most terrifying thing you could put on film was either a 300-foot tall mutant lizard, or an army of suburbanized "aliens" wearing shiny onesies and hair like news anchors. Today? The hallmark of a truly scary movie is an innocent-looking little kid who is under a curse or being haunted by ghosts, and deadpans ominous phrases like, "I think they're here."

Pro football is still behind the curve.

Here we are, almost 90 years since the NFL's inception, and the scariest thing on the field is still a big, fast defensive player with harmful intentions. The only things that have changed over the decades are that his pads are now made of plastic and he's wearing a cage over his face—and he makes millions of dollars to bring his old-fashioned style of terror.

With the league becoming increasingly pass-heavy, the four most important jobs are quarterback, cover cornerback, offensive tackle protecting the QB's blind side, and pass-rusher.

It's the last group that allows the most flexibility. Whether it's a 265-pound defensive end, a 330-pound nose tackle, a 250-pound linebacker, or 200-pound safety, players who can get into the backfield, disrupt timing and bring down the quarterback are valued by every team no matter what system they run. And whether the players prefer to sack-and-strip, take out the knees, smother with all of their weight, or channel Lawrence Taylor and make "snot bubbles" pop out of a QB's nose, the bottom line is that they are the most dangerous men in the game.

Here are 25 pass-rushing monsters who will keep quarterbacks awake at night next season:

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