Not Von Miller, not Khalil Mack, not even J.J. Watt.
The NFL's best edge defender midway through the season is ... New England Patriots defensive end and former Arkansas Razorback Trey Flowers.
With eight weeks in the books, ProFootballFocus.com has ranked Flowers ahead of his peers with a 90.8 grade for the season. The fourth-year defensive end owns 2 sacks, 15 tackles and 1 forced fumble through 7 games played. Flowers has taken 55.8 percent of New England's defensive snaps and more than 70 percent since he returned from a concussion in Week 4.
Bears Coach Matt Nagy, whose team faced the Patriots on Oct. 21, spoke to Flowers' impact.
"He's not the quote-unquote big-name guy, but he's the big-name guy amongst the coaching world," Nagy said recently. "So we know who he is and what he can do, and we respect him. He can hold the point. He's quick, he's strong, he's fast, he plays in front of the quarterback.
"So we know that he's a good football player."
In Buffalo on Monday, Flowers had two tackles for loss and a couple of quarterback hits.
Flowers led the Patriots in sacks and QB hits in each of the past two seasons. His steady ascension should result in a major payday soon, as Flowers is set to hit free agency this offseason.
Shortly after fellow 2015 draft pick Shaq Mason received a five-year, $50 million extension in late August, Flowers said he was happy for Mason and did not see their contract situations as related.
"What he eat don't make me ... you dig what I'm saying?" asked Flowers, referring to a line from the Jay-Z song "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)".
"That really don't got nothing to do with me. I'm just focusing on myself," he said. "I'm just working, man. I'm going to let that handle itself when the time comes, and I'm going to just keep working. It is what it is."
Video game wizardry
The Buffalo Bills went deep into the playbook on their opening drive Monday night, running LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory on direct snaps in full-house backfield setups. Might as well break out some trickery to try to beat the New England Patriots, right?
According to Dan McQuade of deadspin.com, the main highlight of the Bills' first drive was this: They ran a reverse flea flicker, a play that's more often seen in Tecmo Super Bowl than on NFL fields.
"The play was Down+B for the Minnesota Vikings in the classic Nintendo football game. In Tecmo, Wade Wilson took the ball from center, pitched it to Herschel Walker, who pitched it to Hassan Jones, who pitched it back to Wilson. Tonight, Derek Anderson took the ball, handed it to LeSean McCoy, who handed it to Zay Jones, who pitched it back to Anderson. The only major difference was Anderson took the ball in a shotgun snap.
"Veteran Tecmo gamers might understand why the play isn't often seen in the NFL: It sucked. The play was usually broken up in the backfield by the defense before the complicated series of pitches could be completed. Tonight, Anderson almost found Charles Clay (Little Rock Central) deep down the right sideline but the pass fell incomplete. Eh, better than it works in Tecmo most of the time," McQuade wrote.
The New England Patriots drafted Trey Flowers in which round of the 2015 NFL Draft?
Flowers was taken in the fourth round.
Former Arkansas Razorback Trey Flowers of the New England Patriots is rated as the NFL’s best edge defender by ProFootballFocus.com.
Sports on 10/31/2018
Print Headline: Site ranks former Razorback as NFL's best edge defender