Sports

The Greatest Linebackers of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated November 21, 2019 142.4k votes 18k voters 443.3k 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 Williamsburg
2
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
3
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Bartow
4
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker and Center from Chicago
5
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Mantua
6
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Pasco
7
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Miami
8
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Linebacker from Pensacola
9
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Johnstown
10
Junior Seau is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from San Diego
11
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Elmwood Park
12
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added Linebacker from Bruceton
13
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Outside Linebacker and Defensive end from Dallas
14
Kevin Greene is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Schenectady
15
Luke Kuechly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
nat_merrill added Linebacker from Cincinnati
16
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Defensive end and Linebacker from Auburn
17
Terrell Suggs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
megatron81calvin added Outside Linebacker from Minneapolis
18
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker and Center from Bethlehem
19
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Outside Linebacker from Akron
20
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Guatemala City
21
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Linebacker from Pampa
22
Charles Haley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Defensive end and Linebacker from Gladys
23
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Farmington
24
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Linebacker from Clover
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