The Greatest Linebackers of All Time Football Players (American)

The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

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43,406 views 44 items 8,504 votes 1,481 voters 29 followers 17reranks
The greatest linebackers of all time are not only the best NFL players to ever play the linebacker position but also some of the most respected and most feared football players of all time. These all-time greats have electrified crowds with their energy and leadership and delivered on the field as some of the NFL's best defensive players ever.

It's hard to claim that anyone other than the great Lawrence Taylor is the best linebacker ever. He made an immeasurable impact on the game, changing it for decades to follow and becoming the star of the league which at that time was dominated by quarterbacks. His explosiveness and raw power was in most cases simply unstoppable and easily qualifies him as the best to play the position.

That said, there are plenty of other great linebackers who each had stellar careers of their own. The likes of Dick Butkus, who terrorized offenses during his nine years with the Chicago Bears, Ray Lewis, who served as a perfect combination of talent and heart during his memorable time with the Baltimore Ravens, and Junior Seau, who recorded over 100 tackles for six seasons straight and earned 12 Pro Bowl selections, are all firmly among the best NFL linebackers of all time.

While they don't always get the same level of attention that other positions do, the linebackers are some of the toughest, smartest and most hard working players on any NFL team. Have an NFL linebacker that you adore? Vote for your favorite NFL linebackers below, re-rank this list your way or add any not listed. Then, head over and vote for the greatest tight ends of all time and the greatest NFL punters of all time too!

List Criteria: Only include linebackers based on their on-field accomplishments

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 547
    Down 217

    the people's #1
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 487
    Down 170

    most listed
    Dick Butkus

    1942 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 487
    Down 225
    1975 More
    87
  4. 4
    Up 306
    Down 144
    1952 More
    86
  5. 5
    Up 308
    Down 124
    1958 More
    86
  6. 6
    Up 202
    Down 118
    1936 More
    79
  7. 7
    Up 203
    Down 118
    1948 More
    77
  8. 8
    Up 198
    Down 154
    1969 More
    73
  9. 9
    Up 226
    Down 90
    1967 More
    72
  10. 10
    Up 292
    Down 132

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian Urlacher

    1978 More
    70
  11. 11
    Up 110
    Down 108
    1945 More
    67
  12. 12
    Up 120
    Down 86
    1925 More
    64
  13. 13
    Up 114
    Down 89
    1934 More
    63
  14. 14
    Up 162
    Down 63

    ranked low on reranks
    Derrick Brooks

    1973 More
    60
    added by: bojanthebest
  15. 15
    Up 77
    Down 104

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bobby Bell

    1940 More
    57
  16. 16
    Up 128
    Down 84
    1985 More
    56
    added by: noahjacobs1
  17. 17
    Up 69
    Down 76
    1947 More
    52
  18. 18
    Up 52
    Down 82

    often listed
    Randy Gradishar

    1952 More
    50
  19. 19
    Up 85
    Down 71
    1962 More
    50
  20. 20
    Up 63
    Down 52
    1982 More
    50
    added by: wiabux
  21. 21
    Up 47
    Down 91
    1989 More
    49
    added by: stokified
  22. 22
    Up 70
    Down 67

    ranked low on reranks
    Harry Carson

    1953 More
    49
  23. 23
    Up 47
    Down 78
    1959 More
    48
  24. 24
    Up 40
    Down 81
    1932 More
    46
  25. 25
    Up 49
    Down 69
    1940 More
    46
  26. 26
    Up 37
    Down 73
    1936 More
    44
  27. 27
    Up 69
    Down 37

    ranked low on reranks
    Zach Thomas

    1960 More
    42
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  28. 28
    Up 38
    Down 41
    1958 More
    42
  29. 29
    Up 32
    Down 63
    1941 More
    41
  30. 30
    Up 35
    Down 62
    1929 More
    41
  31. 31
    Up 40
    Down 37
    1941 More
    39
  32. 32
    Up 27
    Down 62

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dave Wilcox

    1942 More
    39
  33. 33
    Up 20
    Down 23
    1975 More
    39
    added by: wiabux
  34. 34
    Up 27
    Down 27
    1971 More
    37
    added by: wiabux
  35. 35
    Up 52
    Down 35
    1965 More
    37
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  36. 36
    Up 56
    Down 47
    1973 More
    37
  37. 37
    Up 70
    Down 26

    ranked low on reranks
    London Fletcher

    1975 More
    36
    added by: EthanWalker
  38. 38
    Up 6
    Down 4
    1965 More
    35
    added by: TehSauce
  39. 39
    Up 30
    Down 58
    1930 More
    33
  40. 40
    Up 6
    Down 4
    1965 More
    30
    added by: TehSauce
  41. 41
    Up 7
    Down 9

    Chad Greenway

    January 12, 1983 More
    29
    added by: CurtisBrown
  42. 42
    Up 6
    Down 8

    Scott Studwell

    August 27, 1954 More
    29
    added by: CurtisBrown
    Scott Studwell racked up 1981 career tackles in his 14 seasons. As well as holding the record ... more
  43. 43
    Up 3
    Down 6
    1945 More
    28
    added by: TehSauce
  44. 44
    Up 7
    Down 7
    1966 More
    28
    added by: TehSauce
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