A day after Cameron Wake’s three-sack feast on Josh McCown resembled a lion shredding through a zebra, and an interesting question regarding the Miami Dolphins lineman’s legacy has resurfaced: Is he a Hall of Famer?
The answer, as yesterday reminded us, is 100 percent yes.
The question may appear to be a complicated one but it shouldn’t be. Simply put, Cam Wake is among the best pass rushers of his era and pressuring the quarterback is the most desired skillset in football outside of playing quarterback itself.
Yes, Wake entered the NFL out of the Canadian League at an elderly 27, robbing him of a chunk of his prime, but nobody has been better at getting to the quarterback over the last nine seasons.
Dating back to his rookie year in 2009, Wake leads the league in both sacks (87.5), per Football Reference, and pressures per pass rush (one in every six), according Pro Football Focus. And while I can’t find anywhere that tracks holding penalties drawn, I’d bet my car he’s atop (or at least Top 3) that list as well because it feels like he draws at least two every game.
All the metrics point to one conclusion: Cam Wake has essentially been unblockable.
It’s been more than a remarkable nine-year career, especially for someone who went undrafted out of Penn State and found himself sleeping on the floor during his CFL days. Many longtime fans may not want to hear it but one could argue Wake is a better pure pass rusher than recently inducted Hall of Famer Jason Taylor.
And the tape certainly matches, if not exceeds, Wake’s jarring statistics. He’s one of the few defensive players who merits locked-on viewing whenever he’s on the field. Watching him pulverize helpless offensive tackles in a matter of seconds is as entertaining as a 50-yard touchdown pass. The way he bends around the edge with such unwavering violence makes it look like what we’re watching is CGI.
And despite being 35 years old he’s still a menace, as yesterday reminded us. Wake racked up six pressures and three sacks on the 18 pass plays he was on the field. On the season, PFF ranks him ninth among edge defenders but No. 1 in pass rushing productivity, their in-house metric encompassing the likes of pressures, hits, and sacks.
The most productive edge rushers this season pic.twitter.com/uNCvWJbrep
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 23, 2017
We’re talking about a 35-year-old who tore his achilles less than two years ago.
Wake currently sits tied for 47th on the NFL’s all-time sacks list and, if he keeps his current pace up, will end the season tied for 34th. To place that high after just nine seasons is astounding. He’s the most talented player Jason Taylor has ever played with.
— Josh Baumgard (@joshbaumgard) January 6, 2017
Next time you see Cameron Wake get down in his unorthodox four-point stance on third and long as an overmatched offensive tackle prepares for impending doom, remember you’re witnessing the NFL’s most productive pure pass rusher over the last decade, one with an undisputed Hall-of-Fame resume.