When the Arizona Cardinals locked up linebacker Daryl Washington earlier this season, fans were happy because of how good most felt he would be. He lines up all over the field. He seems to be in on every play. He is a tackle machine. Apparently, he is a sack artist, too.
On the season, he leads the team with six sacks, and arguable should have another one as well. He had one taken away in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
It is not very common to see sack numbers like that from a guy that plays his position. In fact, sacks from linebackers has not been something common in large numbers historically for the Cardinals. Ken Harvey holds the linebacker record with 10, set in 1990.
How good have his pass rushing numbers been?
According to Pro Football Focus, in seven games, he has only rushed the passer 73 times. he has sacked the quarterback six times, hit him three times and hurried him five times. That is 14 total pressures in 73 attempts, a rate of 19.2 percent. That is super efficient.
The NFL leader in sacks, J.J. Watt, has rushed the passer 243 times. He has 9.5 sacks. His 28 total pressures mean that he affects the quarterback 11.5 percent of the time he rushes.
That doesn't mean that Washington is a better pass rusher. It is just he is simply very effective.
Washington spoke to the media about his sacks, as noted in Darren Urban's article on the official team page.
"The defense is really built around the weakside linebacker," Washington said of the position he plays. "So when I get the opportunity with either an inside or outside blitz, I have to get there. I feel (defensive coordinator Ray Horton) called the blitz just for me."
Washington wants 10 sacks or more on the year. He also owns the fastest sack of the year, is sack of Christian Ponder came in 1.2 seconds. That's simply unfair.
How good is this kid? The scary thing is that he is just scratching the surface of his talent. And the Cardinals and their fans will get to see it in actions for many more years.