First thing you notice are the measurables. 6’5 and a lean 278 pounds. This dude is cut so anatomically specific that, well, it's almost laughable. This guy is out here chasing QBs down with an action figure physique that might as well say “QBs Beware” across the front of his jersey. NY Giants Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul is the protoypical DE for all of your 21st Century defensive lineman needs.
Drafted out of South Florida as the 15th pick of the 2010 draft, he immediately impressed, that is, when he could get on the field. The Giants have fielded teams chock full of solid lineman for several years now, led by Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, so JPP basically got in where he could fit in during his first year. He put up a respectable four sacks and helped turn what was already a good pash rush into great territory. Even in small doses it was obvious that he has the goods to something special.
That next year though, he sorta surprised everyone. With the Giants running low on defenders due to injuries, he blasted out the gate and threw up an All-Pro season with ease. A whopping 16.5 sacks, 86 tackles, and two forced fumbles. He’s not one of those dudes who works as a sack specialist or anything. He’s very good against the run and excels in several facets of the game. But as a QB stompin’, air attack diffusing, big-play disrupting pass rusher, he’s amazing. He has uncanny quickness and bursts off the line with sprinter-like reaction (he runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds.) He simply ran past offensive lineman and over running backs trying to chip him on the way to their QB. His performance that season was nothing less than prodigious.
Last year, with offensive coordinators scheming against him on seemingly every play, his sack numbers dropped down to six and tackles down to 66. Not surprising, since he faced double-teams on nearly every important down. He also played part of last year with a painful back injury. Something he needed surgery on in the off-season. He’ll miss all of the pre-season, but is on schedule to suit up on opening day. We won’t pretend that Pierre-Paul’s injury isn’t a concern, but assuming he gets back to where he was, he’s just too good to leave off our list.