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2019 Free Agency Preview: Defensive Ends


With free agency set to begin soon, previews the 2019 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today's focus continues with the defensive ends.

The Redskins don't have pure defensive ends in their 3-4 scheme, as outside linebackers Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan do most of the heavy pass rush lifting.

Smith will become a free agent and has started every game for the Redskins over the past three years, tallying 24.5 career sacks.

While some top free agent defensive have already reportedly signed -- DeMarcus Lawrence and Trey Flowers -- here are some remaining free agents at the position, along with other notables below.

Jadeveon Clowney, Texans

Clowney was drafted by the Houston Texans No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft out of South Carolina. He only played in four games his rookie season due to a knee injury and was forced to have surgery.

In 2015, Clowney played in 13 games and recorded 40 tackles, 4.5 sacks and had six passes defensed while being named to his first Pro Bowl in 2016, registering 52 tackles and six sacks in 14 games.

He was named to the Pro Bowl once again in 2017 when he notched 59 tackles, 9.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries with one touchdown in 16 games.

In 2018, Clowney was named to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season after recording 47 tackles, nine sacks and three fumble recoveries and one touchdown in 15 games.

Known as one of the premier edge rushers in the NFL, Clowney would complement an influx of young talent along the Redskins defensive line that touts fellow first-round selections Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.

Frank Clark, Seahawks

Clark finished the 2018 season after posting career highs in sacks (13) and forced fumbles (3). He was a force off the edge and helped anchor the Seahawks defensive unit.

2018 was also the second season in Clark's career in which he reached double-digit sacks, with 2016 being the first. He nearly reached the mark in 2017 but fell just one sack short. With his latest slew of production, the edge rusher has increased his career totals to 136 combined tackles, 35 sacks, six passes defensed, one interception, and eight forced fumbles.

Given his production, Clark would provide an even bigger boost to the Redskins defensive line, increasing the potential of one of the youngest, most productive units in the NFL.

Brandon Graham, Eagles

A strong defender against both the run and the pass, Graham finished 2018 with four sacks, 39 tackles, and 11 quarterback hits.

His stat line for the year doesn't jump off the page, but Graham does many things that don't show up in the box score and is a master at setting the edge and eating space so others can make the play.

According to Pro Football Focus, Graham's play ranked him as the 2018's 10th-best edge defender.

Graham has provided consistent production for the Eagles defense for nine seasons, and potentially could provide a bargain option for the Redskins if Preston Smith were to depart.

Other notable free agent defensive ends: Esekiel Ansah, Randy Gregory, Cameron Wake, Markus Golden, William Hayes

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