When looking at some of the all-time greats to ever don the horseshoe at their respective positions, a handful of candidates have come out of the early 2000s. There’s little doubt, regardless of your fandom, that Peyton Manning is considered a top-5 quarterback in any company.
Marvin Harrison has done his part to earn the respect of even the biggest and most physical defensive backs from his era, and Robert Mathis just finished up a career that goes a long way towards getting him consideration for the Hall of Fame as well. Mathis may be one of the few outliers in terms of major contributors towards the success of the franchise who weren’t highly touted coming out of college.
Some of the most sought after draftees such as Marshall Faulk, Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Tarik Glenn, Edgerrin James, Manning and Dallas Clark were all first-round picks and left an indelible mark on the organization through the 90s and 2000s. Another one that we have yet to mention was recently named by NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks as one of the top-5 pass rushers he’s ever scouted.
Dwight Freeney, to nobody’s surprise, was Brooks’ No 5 on his top-10 list and back in 2002 – before everyone you know considered themselves a scout – Freeney was every bit as impressive as his NFL career turned out to be. Freeney was listed above some very impressive pass rushers that have come into the league with their hair on fire, but the entire list in general is pretty spectacular to say the least.
Bucky Brooks’ Top-10 Pass Rushers He’s Scouted:
10 | J.J. Watt – Wisconsin
9 | Shawne Merriman – Maryland
8 | Khalil Mack – Buffalo
7 | Vic Beasley – Clemson
6 | Demarcus Ware – Troy
5 | Dwight Freeney – Syracuse
4 | Jadeveon Clowney – South Carolina
3 | Terrell Suggs – Arizona St.
2 | Von Miller – Texas A&M
1 | Julius Peppers – North Carolina
Brooks referred to Freeney’s “cat-like quickness, his explosiveness and the killer spin move” he displayed in his time at Syracuse, and mentioned his 34 sacks and 51.5 total tackles for loss he accrued previous to being the Colts first-round (11th overall) selection in 2002.
Freeney is known for racking up double-digit sacks in 7 of his 11 (107.5 sacks with Colts) seasons with the Colts as well as being part of one of the best pass rushing tandems in the league’s history.