Why Haason Reddick will be in contention for the 2022 NFL sack leader
Haason Reddick’s prodigal return to Philadelphia became one of the more underrated signings of Howie’s chess-like maneuverability this offseason.
The three-year, $45 million deal inked by the Temple product makes him one of the top 20 highest-paid edge rushers in the NFL.
The Camden native will turn 28 when the season starts but has been a legitimate top-five pass rusher since 2020 in limited opportunities. Haason Reddick dropped into coverage at a 17% rate in the Cardinals’ scheme as a standup linebacker. While this is a huge benefit to Reddick’s game, his pass-rush ability should be on full display with the Eagles’ seemingly revamped linebacking group that should perform much better against the pass.
The Eagles’ defensive front is a MonStar unit of talent, with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, and Milton Williams weighing in at 1,241 pounds combined. Looking at the double-team rates from last season, Javon Hargrave is right there with Aaron Donald, Grady Jarrett, Maliek Collins, and Quinnen Williams. This graph shocked me:
- Fletcher Cox is not on the list
- Josh Sweat demands more double teams than Haason Reddick
- Haason Reddick and Derek Barnett are on the same double-team axis
Graph Credits: @SethWalder, Twitter
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a less talked about dominating campaign than the one Javon Hargrave put together in 2021. If you narrow down the double team rate to just defensive tackles, Hargrave’s pass rush win rate stands just below Chris Jones’ with a higher double rate. Last season, teams doubled Fletcher Cox surprisingly at the same rate as Poona Ford, the 2018 UDFA for the Seahawks.
So, the point of all these graphs and double-team rates is that if Haason Reddick is left one-on-one as an edge rusher or an exotic blitzer, he has the chance to be in the conversation of NFL sacks leader. And we haven’t begun to start on the addition of the 6-6, 340-pound one-man wrecking crew that is Jordan Davis.
Davis was mainly used as a gap-clogging machine in that historic Georgia defense, allowing other linemen to enjoy success with one-on-one matchups or allowing linebackers to fly to the football carrier freely without pulling linemen. There’s a reason why this Bulldogs’ team had an NFL draft record five defensive players go in the first round.
I think that reason is how Jordan Davis performed his job by taking on two or three grown men at a time and allowing his teammates to make plays. Look how JD eats up the guard and tackle, allowing #1 overall pick Travon Walker to pull off a simple bull rush over the pulling center for the easy defensive STOP.
With the Eagles’ current linebacker situation, Reddick should be a QB-seeking missile for Jonathan Gannon to use in some more exotic looks if Jordan Davis can handle the task of playing a nose guard type role. When Davis is on the field on any play-action set, expect Reddick to be screaming off the edge after dismantling his matchup.
Furthermore, with Davis off the field, Hargrave still demands multiple linemen to thwart his destruction, and there’s still a Philadelphia legend named Fletcher Cox that might not be the best guy to leave on a single blocker. On top of that, Josh Sweat’s double-team rate might decrease, allowing him to eat on the opposite side of Reddick.
I haven’t even mentioned Milton Williams, who’s not an instant double-team by any means, but the Eagles’ have too many bullies on the interior to leave unchecked. Don’t be surprised when Haason Reddick starts putting quarterbacks in the dirt on a weekly basis against the NFC East tackles, who are not the strongest looking tandems in the conference.
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Photo Credit: ESPN.com