Best Athletes The Greatest Linebackers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
116.1k votes 15.3k voters 424.3k views 191 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
5,614 1,996
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
4,430 1,824
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Chicago Bears

3
5,594 2,330
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baltimore Ravens

4
3,034 1,120
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baylor Bears football, Chicago Bears

5
3,298 1,389
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kent State Golden Flashes football

6
2,174 1,153
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Penn State Nittany Lions football

7
2,327 959
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Alabama Crimson Tide Football, Kansas City Chiefs

8
2,141 1,206
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
2,738 1,132
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
New Mexico Lobos Football, Chicago Bears

10
1,742 1,047
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Green Bay Packers

11
1,686 714
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12
1,777 925
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added San Francisco 49ers

13
980 752
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
University of Pennsylvania football

14
969 680
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
846 746
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Washington Redskins, New York Giants

16
866 809
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

17
1,164 694
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Troy Trojans football, Dallas Cowboys

18
1,391 654
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Texas A&M Aggies football, Denver Broncos

19
782 208
Luke Kuechly is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
nat_merrill added Carolina Panthers, Boston College Eagles football

20
642 242
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals

21
904 664
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys

22
929 624
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
721 566
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers

24
651 612
Harry Carson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

25
626 655
Bobby Bell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time