Best Athletes The Greatest Linebackers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
113.3k votes 15.2k voters 423.1k views 198 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
5,522 1,975
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
North Carolina Tar Heels football, New York Giants

2
5,525 2,292
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baltimore Ravens

3
4,361 1,802
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Chicago Bears

4
2,976 1,102
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baylor Bears football, Chicago Bears

5
3,260 1,361
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kent State Golden Flashes football

6
2,139 1,125
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Penn State Nittany Lions football

7
2,291 935
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Alabama Crimson Tide Football, Kansas City Chiefs

8
2,094 1,192
Junior Seau is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
USC Trojans football, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins

9
2,680 1,118
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
New Mexico Lobos Football, Chicago Bears

10
1,711 1,031
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Green Bay Packers

11
1,645 702
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12
1,752 905
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added San Francisco 49ers

13
949 737
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
University of Pennsylvania football

14
951 662
Kevin Greene is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Auburn Tigers football

15
831 726
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Washington Redskins, New York Giants

16
854 791
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

17
1,137 682
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Troy Trojans football, Dallas Cowboys

18
752 193
Luke Kuechly is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
nat_merrill added Carolina Panthers, Boston College Eagles football

19
1,351 642
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Texas A&M Aggies football, Denver Broncos

20
888 648
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys

21
614 230
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals

22
905 612
Terrell Suggs is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
megatron81calvin added Arizona State Sun Devils football, Baltimore Ravens

23
705 554
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers

24
638 601
Harry Carson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

25
618 639
Bobby Bell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time