Linebackers The Greatest Linebackers of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
117.9k votes 15.5k voters 425.4k views 182 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
5,686 2,012
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
4,478 1,853
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Chicago Bears
3
5,658 2,355
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baltimore Ravens
4
3,066 1,140
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baylor Bears football, Chicago Bears
5
3,329 1,400
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kent State Golden Flashes football
6
2,193 1,167
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Penn State Nittany Lions football
7
2,354 971
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Alabama Crimson Tide Football, Kansas City Chiefs
8
2,175 1,215
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
2,766 1,150
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
New Mexico Lobos Football, Chicago Bears
10
1,758 1,060
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Green Bay Packers
11
1,703 724
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12
1,787 945
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added San Francisco 49ers
13
992 762
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
University of Pennsylvania football
14
982 687
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
856 756
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Washington Redskins, New York Giants
16
876 820
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
17
1,182 702
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Troy Trojans football, Dallas Cowboys
18
1,416 668
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Texas A&M Aggies football, Denver Broncos
19
815 217
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
658 252
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals
21
947 633
Terrell Suggs is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
megatron81calvin added Arizona State Sun Devils football, Baltimore Ravens
22
917 673
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys
23
733 572
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers
24
658 620
Harry Carson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
25
632 663
Bobby Bell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time