ESPN ranks Patriots’ Matthew Judon as top pass rusher in AFC East

Matthew Judon has recorded 28 sacks over his two seasons with the Patriots.

Patriots LB Matthew Judon does his celebration move after he recorded a first half sack. The New England Patriots hosted the Indianapolis Colts in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium.
Matthew Judon has established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

The 2023 Patriots might have some question marks on the offensive side of the ball going into training camp. But defensively, New England returns a number of key contributors who put together impressive 2022 campaigns.

Chief among them is outside linebacker Matt Judon, who tormented opposing offensive lines all season long.

Given his impressive stat line (15.5 sacks, two forced fumbles in 17 games), it comes as little surprise that Judon garnered plenty of praise from NFL circles in ESPN’s latest positional rankings.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler compiled a ranking of the top pass rushers in the NFL, seeking the opinion of NFL league executives, coaches, scouts and players. 


Judon placed eighth on the list of the top NFL pass rushers, earning the top spot among all AFC East players. Buffalo Bills pass rusher Von Miller ranked ninth on the list.

After averaging 6.9 sacks per season over his first five years with the Ravens, Judon has been on a tear since arriving in Foxborough. After joining the Patriots in 2021, Judon has recorded 28 sacks, while also posting 58 quarterback hits.

“He has the ideal traits — now he has the elite production to match,” an NFL coordinator told Fowler.

One of Judon’s teammates could make a compelling case for next year’s list in Josh Uche. The 24-year-old linebacker had a breakthrough 2022 season with 11.5 sacks over 15 games.

Here is the full list of ESPN’s rankings:

  1. Nick Bosa, 49ers
  2. Myles Garrett, Browns
  3. Micah Parsons, Cowboys
  4. T.J. Watt, Steelers
  5. Haason Reddick, Eagles
  6. Maxx Crosby, Raiders
  7. Brian Burns, Panthers
  8. Matthew Judon, Patriots
  9. Von Miller, Bills
  10. Joey Bosa, Chargers


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