The 50 Greatest Linebackers in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
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50. Roy Winston '62-76 Vikings.
-And we're off.
49. Maxie Baughan '60-74 Eagles/Rams
-5 good years
48. Tom Jackson '73-86 Broncos
-5 good years
47. Wayne Walker '58-72 Lions
-Half dozen good years.
46. James Farrior '97- Steelers/Jets
-Long, productive career, started nearly 200 games.
45. Hardy Nickerson '87-02 Bucs/Steelers
-Long productive career, started 200 games.
44. Clay Matthews '78-96 Browns
-King of the long, productive careers. 248 starts.
43. Jack Pardee '57-72 Rams
-half dozen good years.
42. Dave Wilcox '64-74 49ers
-5 good years and productive every season.
41. Wilber Marshall '84-95 Redskins/Bears
-3 great years, including an all time season in '85 and then a lot of productivity.
40. Karl Mecklenburg '83-94 Broncos
-Six good seasons and his '89 is the current best on the board.
39. Greg Lloyd '88-98 Steelers
-Half dozen good to great years.
38. Pat Swilling '86-98 Saints/Lions
-5 good to great years right in the heart of his career, his '91 is new best on the board.
37. Joe Fortunato '55-66 Bears
-Half dozen good to great years, productive his whole career.
36. Andy Russell '63-76 Steelers
-5 good years and titles.
35. Mike Curtis '65-78 Colts
-5 good years including a great '68.
34. Sam Mills '86-97 Saints
-half dozen good to great years.
33. Andre Tippett '82-93 Patriots
-Half dozen good to great years.
32. Cornelius Bennett '87-00 Bills
-5 good years and remained productive throughout his entire career. Why is Tippett in the HOF but not Bennett?
31. Chris Hanburger '65-78 Redskins
-Productive all throughout his 20s and then 6 good years in his 30s.
30. Bill Bergey '69-80 Eagles/Bengals
-7 good seasons and always productive.
29. Randy Gradishar '74-83 Broncos
-7 good years, productive every season.
28. Lance Briggs '03-11 Bears
-8 good years in a row; Lance Briggs is a Hall of Famer.
27. Derrick Thomas '89-99 Chiefs
-8 good seasons, productive every year of his career.
26. Harry Carson '76-88 Giants
-7 good years and the title.
The top 25 Linebackers of all Time
25. Dick Butkus 65-73 Bears
-8 good years, didn't have the top end of some of the guys who beat him out here, didn't have the longevity of some others.
24. Joe Schmidt 53-65 Lions
-9 good seasons.
23. Zach Thomas '96-08 Dolphins
-8 good to great seasons.
22. Dave Robinson '63-74 Packers
-8 good years and titles - why isn't Robinson in the HOF?
21. Chuck Howley '58-73 Cowboys
-Like a better Hanburger, productive in his 20s and then 7 good years with a higher top end.
20. Leroy Jordan '63-76 Cowboys
-8 good years, a title, productive all the way until 35. Why isn't Jordan in the HOF?
19. Larry Grantham '60-72 Jets
-10 good seasons, productive every year and the title. Lacked top end but was unbelievably consistent for a really long time. This section of guys all should be in the HOF, they never had spectacular seasons but were really solid forever and won titles, I wonder if Thomas, who didn't win, will also get overlooked.
18. Rickey Jackson '81-95 Saints
-9 good years and always productive
17. Chuck Bednarik '49-62 Eagles
-7 good to great years.
16. Junior Seau 90-09 Chargers
-10 good years, productive until he was 35. Like a better Grantham.
15. Willie Lanier '67-77 Chiefs
-7 good to great years and the title.
14. Isiah Robertson Rams/Bills '71-82
-8 good to great seasons, always productive, super underrated.
13. Ray Nitschke '58-72 Packers
-7 good to great years and titles.
12. Brian Urlacher 00- Bears
-8 good seasons and a really high top end. Urlacher should go in on the first ballot.
11. Sam Huff 56-69 Giants/Redskins
-7 good to great years, high top end and always productive.
10. Bobby Bell Chiefs 63-74 Chiefs
-10 good, consistent years and the title.
9. Nick Buoniconti 62-76 Dolphins/Patriots
-9 good years, had Bell's level of peak, and the titles.
8. Mike Singletary 81-92 Bears
-9 good years just bulldozing through the middle of his career and the title.
7. Bill George 52-66 Bears
-9 good seasons with a higher top end than Butkus and a few extra years of productivity Butkus didn't have. George was better.
6. Jack Lambert Steelers '74-84
-9 good to great years and the titles; the shorter career keeps him here.
5. Jack Ham 71-82 Steelers
-9 good to great years and the titles.
4 Ted Hendricks 69-83 Raiders/Colts
-8 good seasons, productive long career, titles, an all time great '71.
3. Lawrence Taylor 81-93 Giants
-10 good to great years and titles. The next guy was better.
2 Derrick Brooks 95-08 Bucs
-11 good years, high top end and the title. Tremendous player.
1. Ray Lewis Ravens 96-
-11 good years, high top end, the title and more productivity. He's the best ever.