Charles Johnson is a top 5 pass rusher, according to Pro Football Focus

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

He doesn't get as much fan love as compatriot Greg Hardy, but Johnson is quietly having one of his best NFL seasons.

Charles Johnson has 18 quarterback pressures on 99 snaps, a pressure every 5.5 snaps. That's good enough to make him one of the five most productive pass rushers in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.

Most fans would probably answer 'Greg Hardy' when asked who they think the Panthers' best pass rusher is. He gets the big hits, is the more animated player on the field and leaps off the screen when watching tape. Hardy has been very good in 2013, but Charles Johnson has been far better.

It's the clearest example of traditional pass rush statistics failing to present a true picture -- similar to looking at DeAngelo Hall's interception numbers and equating that to him being an elite cornerback. Johnson is on pace for another 10.0 sack season, but these pressure numbers are eye-popping. As a comparison Hardy has 11 total pressures in 97 snaps.

Hardy and Johnson are both having stellar seasons, which will make this offseason fascinating. Can the Panthers afford two top-tier pass rushers? It's a decision for Dave Gettleman to work out, and one that could be influenced by the rest of the team's pass rushers. Mario Addison has played well in a limited role, while Frank Alexander has just 33 snaps on the year.

Another player to quietly keep an eye on is rookie Kawann Short. He hasn't had as many opportunities to rush the passer from the under tackle position, but has five pressures on 71 snaps -- better than Dwan Edwards, with two in 41 snaps.

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