Sports

The Greatest Linebackers of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated November 21, 2019 144.8k votes 18.2k voters 445.1k views 155 items

List Rules Only include linebackers based on their on-field accomplishments

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 one of the top 10 NFL linebackers of all time.

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, famous 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 ordered by
1
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from USA, Virginia, Williamsburg
2
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Bartow, Florida, United States of America
3
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker and Center from Chicago, Illinois, USA
4
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
5
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Mantua, Ohio
6
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Pasco, Tri-Cities, Washington, United States of America
7
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Miami, Florida
8
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Linebacker from Pensacola, Florida
9
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Johnstown, Pennsylvania
10
Junior Seau is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from San Diego, California, United States of America
11
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Elmwood Park, Illinois, United States of America
12
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added Linebacker from Bruceton, Tennessee, United States of America
13
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Outside Linebacker and Defensive end from Dallas, Texas
14
Luke Kuechly is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
nat_merrill added Linebacker from Cincinnati, Ohio
15
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Defensive end and Linebacker from Auburn, Alabama
16
Kevin Greene is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Schenectady, New York
17
Terrell Suggs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
megatron81calvin added Outside Linebacker from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America
18
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Outside Linebacker from Akron, Ohio
19
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker and Center from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States of America
20
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Guatemala City, Guatemala
21
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Linebacker from Pampa, Texas
22
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Clover, Virginia, United States of America
23
Charles Haley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Defensive end and Linebacker from Gladys, Virginia, Virginia
24
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Farmington, West Virginia
25
Willie McGinest is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Willie McGinest Defensive end and Linebacker from Long Beach, California, United States of America