DeMarcus Ware: Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Is Best Pass Rusher in NFL

Michael AnelloContributor ISeptember 16, 2011

Dallas Cowboys right outside linebacker Demarcus Ware sacks New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on Sunday, September 11, 2011.
Dallas Cowboys right outside linebacker Demarcus Ware sacks New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on Sunday, September 11, 2011.Elsa/Getty Images

When defensive end DeMarcus Ware went to Troy University, the most interesting tidbit about him was that he would be starting on the other side of Osi Umenyiora.

In hindsight, it is easy to see why the soon-to-be Dallas Cowboy and New York Giant would create a fearsome pairing in college.

At the time, it was Ware who had to come into his own in college before the "Big Tuna" (Bill Parcells) snagged him with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Ware has become the NFL's best active pass rusher, and is on his way to becoming one of the greatest quarterback sack artists of all time.

The defensive end-turned-outside linebacker in the 3-4 schemes of former Cowboys defensive coordinator Wade Philips and now Rob Ryan has brought the quarterback down 80 times in 96 career games.

How do I prove that he is one of the best pass rushers of all time?

Simple. I compare him to past and present players who made their living tormenting quarterbacks.

The list includes Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers great Reggie White, Los Angeles Rams bruiser Deacon Jones, the Buffalo Bills' Bruce Smith, Minnesota Vikings lumberjack Jared Allen and Indianapolis Colts "spin-o-rama" Dwight Freeney.

I can't leave out Pittsburgh Steeler and Carolina Panther hit man Kevin Greene, ex-New York Giant Michael Strahan, Atlanta Falcon John Abraham, Steelers violent hitter James Harrison and Giants defensive end Umenyiora.  

Ware ranks fourth out of the 10 athletes in sacks in his first 96 games played. White (100.5 sacks), Jones (99), and Smith (83) are one, two and three, and all are Hall of Fame talents.

Ware has led the league in sacks two times. In 2008 he had his only 20-sack season and he had 15 and a half in his 2010 campaign.

Through six NFL seasons, Ware has never been ranked lower than 13th in total number of sacks. He compiled five consecutive seasons with 10 or more sacks.

To add to his résumé, his 46 and a half sacks lead the league over the past three years.

Sacks are not the only reason Ware makes quarterbacks lose sleep on a weekly basis.

He has five straight years of three or more forced fumbles and has 45 or more solo tackles in each of his first six NFL seasons.

On third or fourth down, it is a defenses job to make a play and get off of the field. These situations allow defensive coordinators to dial up the blitz. Ware has 36 sacks on third or fourth down from 2005-2010. In 2008 and 2010, he accounted for nine sacks in these scenarios.

In 2011, Ware is even more dangerous. Ryan is willing to move him all over the field and he is no longer coming off the offensive line's left edge every down.

With Ryan's exotic blitzes,it gives Ware an increased chance to create penetration in the backfield and bring down the quarterback.

He is unique because he has the speed to swim past a defender as well as the strength to bull rush a guard or tackle on his way to the signal caller. Ware had two sacks against a good New York Jets offensive line and quarterback Mark Sanchez.

By the end of his career, he will be one of the greatest pass rushers the game has ever seen and will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.