Football The Greatest Linebackers of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
5,215 1,869
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
4,133 1,692
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Chicago Bears

3
5,235 2,159
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baltimore Ravens

4
3,093 1,288
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kent State Golden Flashes football

5
2,800 1,032
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Baylor Bears football, Chicago Bears

6
2,031 1,041
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Penn State Nittany Lions football

7
2,136 876
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Alabama Crimson Tide Football, Kansas City Chiefs

8
1,964 1,121
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
1,621 958
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Green Bay Packers

10
2,501 1,065
Brian Urlacher is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
New Mexico Lobos Football, Chicago Bears

11
1,542 652
Derrick Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
bojanthebest added Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12
1,651 833
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
noahjacobs1 added San Francisco 49ers

13
902 674
Chuck Bednarik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
University of Pennsylvania football

14
887 619
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
795 667
Sam Huff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Washington Redskins, New York Giants

16
810 742
Willie Lanier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

17
1,057 634
DeMarcus Ware is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added Troy Trojans football, Dallas Cowboys

18
622 151
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
1,211 604
Von Miller is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Texas A&M Aggies football, Denver Broncos

20
832 601
Zach Thomas is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys

21
827 576
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
535 203
James Harrison is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1449352741656 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals

23
659 527
Ted Hendricks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers

24
604 564
Harry Carson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

25
589 603
Bobby Bell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

26
635 482
London Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
EthanWalker added Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams

27
319 180
Charles Haley is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

28
474 280
Clay Matthews III is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Green Bay Packers

29
460 517
Andre Tippett is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

30
652 549
Tedy Bruschi is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Arizona Wildcats football, New England Patriots

31
527 391
Willie McGinest is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
wiabux added USC Trojans football, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns

32
494 360
Chris Spielman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions

33
225 143
Jason Taylor is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Washington Redskins, Akron Zips football, New York Jets

34
358 282
Sam Mills is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
ShaneAdkins added New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, Carolina Panthers

35
348 262
Cornelius Bennett is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
Biscuit420 added

36
524 413
Bill Romanowski is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
TehSauce added Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers

37
234 176
Greg Lloyd, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers

38
274 234
Joey Porter is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added Pittsburgh Steelers, Colorado State Rams football, Arizona Cardinals

39
309 252
Carl Banks is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
quantum.svcs added Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants

40
364 358
Rickey Jackson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

41
216 182
NaVorro Bowman is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
_1442432702366 added San Francisco 49ers

42
224 196
Lance Briggs is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added Arizona Wildcats football, Chicago Bears

43
193 179
Pat Swilling is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added New Orleans Saints

44
360 407
Nick Buoniconti is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

45
332 313
Lee Roy Jordan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

46
189 137
Karl Mecklenburg is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added

47
229 197
Levon Kirkland is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added

48
303 378
Chuck Howley is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

49
235 197
Mike Curtis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
RobSpencer added Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Colts, Washington Redskins

50
193 193
Ken Norton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Linebackers of All Time
chile6880 added