Top 5 AFC North Edge Rushers ranked in 2023

Who are the five best edge rushers in the AFC North? We break down the top five edge defenders the AFC's black and blue division has to offer.

Jan 8, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95)
Jan 8, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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There's no shortage of upper-tier edge defenders in the AFC North. Whether we are talking about outside linebackers or defensive ends, some of the very best apply their game-wrecking skillset within the smash-mouth AFC North.

Here are the top five edge defenders in the AFC’s blood and guts division.

Edge Rusher No. 5: Alex Highsmith, Pittsburgh Steelers, OLB

Well, there is no other way to say this other than to just say it. The Steelers did what the Steelers do. They selected a raw, but highly productive, collegiate pass rusher and brought them along in their system. Fast forward three seasons, and now they have one of the fastest ascending edge rushers in the league in Alex Highsmith.

Typically, the Steelers mine their talent from larger blue blood college programs, but in the case of Highsmith the Steelers took a shot on a productive player out of the mid-majors.

While at the University of Charlotte, Highsmith racked up 15 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss as a senior. When you add in his 6-foot-4, and 242-pound frame and it is easy to see why the Steelers broke their tendency to add him to their outside linebacker room.

Highsmith is coming off of a 14.5 sack season in his third year as a pro. He also added 12 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles to go along with his impressive sack total. Unfortunately for the rest of the AFC North, it looks as if the Steelers have themselves the perfect compliment to their other outside linebacker, who will make an appearance later on this list.