3. Bud Dupree, 27, Pittsburgh Steelers, 11.5 sacks
Last year Bud Dupree had a career year. He also played second fiddle to TJ Watt on the Pittsburgh defensive front. It was a breakthrough for the Steelers first-round pick of 2015. Until last year, he was considered a bust but seemed to have turned the corner.
The biggest drawback to the New York Giants signing Dupree is that he’s better suited for a 4-3 scheme rather than the 3-4 Graham is going to use in 2020. He has the size and speed, however, to be an impact player in any scheme, however. If the G-Men want him they better be prepared to give him a raise over the $9.23M he made last year. Dupree’s results could be worth the investment.
2. Yannick Ngakoue 25, Jacksonville Jaguars, 8.0 sacks
The youngest player on this list, Yannick Ngakoue doesn’t turn 25-years-old until March 31. The fourth-year pro had 8.0 sacks for Jacksonville in 2019. That was a down year, the previous two seasons, he recorded 12.5 and 9.0 sacks respectively. He has 37.5 career sacks in 63 games, not bad for a third-round pick (69th overall).
Ngakoue needs to improve his run defense, but it won’t stop him from cashing in this spring. He’ll get a huge raise from the $2.02M he made last year. With the Jaguars already projected to be hard against the cap, he won’t be resigning in Jacksonville. Very rarely does a young player with his production come on to the open market.
1. Dante Fowler Jr., 26, Los Angeles Rams, 11.5 sacks
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When the Rams traded for Dante Fowler during the 2018 season, he became the outside compliment to Aaron Donald‘s big inside rush. A former third overall draft pick by Jacksonville in 2015, Fowler has 27.5 career sacks in 61 games, including a career-high of 11.5 last season.
At only 26-years-old, Fowler is just coming into his own as a player. His best years are ahead of him as he enters his prime. Fowler is going to get a big contract from some team this spring but probably not from the Rams. Los Angeles only has $15-17M available in 2020 and signing Fowler to what he wants will cost them another player from their roster to open space. The New York Giants would be smart to sign him.
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