Linebackers The Greatest Linebackers of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
120.4k votes 15.7k voters 427.1k views 180 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
5,755 2,046
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
4,534 1,882
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Chicago Bears
3
5,733 2,400
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baltimore Ravens
4
3,111 1,162
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baylor Bears football, Chicago Bears
5
3,366 1,415
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kent State Golden Flashes football
6
2,217 1,187
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Penn State Nittany Lions football
7
2,387 986
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Alabama Crimson Tide Football, Kansas City Chiefs
8
2,199 1,234
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
2,820 1,161
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
New Mexico Lobos Football, Chicago Bears
10
1,786 1,072
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Green Bay Packers
11
1,731 734
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12
1,814 962
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added San Francisco 49ers
13
1,009 772
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
University of Pennsylvania football
14
1,000 698
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
870 766
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Washington Redskins, New York Giants
16
892 831
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
17
1,198 720
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Troy Trojans football, Dallas Cowboys
18
1,453 685
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Texas A&M Aggies football, Denver Broncos
19
854 233
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
968 648
Terrell Suggs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
megatron81calvin added Arizona State Sun Devils football, Baltimore Ravens
21
933 689
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys
22
677 266
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals
23
750 581
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers
24
663 637
Harry Carson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
25
645 673
Bobby Bell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time