Karl Walter/Getty Images
With time to spare in the NFL offseason, I’ll take a look at the top 50 linebackers in the NFL in the modern era.
I’m only going to be looking at players drafted in 1970 or later. I personally think football before 1970 and after 1970 can be seen as two completely different games, in terms of its evolution. So while there were outstanding linebackers in previous years, like Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, they will not be on this list.
I’ll take into account Pro Bowls, All Pro’s (1st and 2nd team), stats, team success, player’s success, intimidation factor, and reputation, along with many other factors to make this list.
James Farrior (Jets jerseys/Steelers jerseys): Two time Pro Bowler, one time 1st Team All Pro, one time 2nd Team All Pro
After being labeled a bust by wholesale jerseys many after his first four seasons with the Jets jerseys, Farrior broke out with the Steelers jerseys and became one of the most consistent players in the league.
Jason Gildon (Steelers jerseys/Jaguars jerseys): Three time Pro Bowler, one time 1st Team All Pro
Gildon was most known for his pass rushing ability, picking up 54 sacks in a 5 year span.
Lofa Tatupu (Seahawks jerseys) : Three time Pro Bowler, one time 1st Team All Pro
Lofa Tatupu didn’t take any time breaking into the NFL, making the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons. He recently missed most of last season with surgery. It will be interesting to see how he can recover.
Jeff Siemon (Vikings jerseys) : Four time Pro Bowler
Siemon was always a good player, but never a great player. He was always good enough for Pro Bowls, but was never an All Pro Player. Still, he was a very solid MLB for many years.
Bill Romanowski (49ers jerseys, Eagles jerseys, Broncos jerseys, Raiders jerseys) : Two time Pro Bowler
Romanowski might be overrated because of his name, but there’s no doubt he was one of the most memorable and feared linebackers of the modern era. Most known for his antics like spitting in other player’s faces, Romanowski’s play sometimes gets overshadowed.Three time Pro Bowler One time 1st Team All Pro.
Bryan Cox was an all around package at linebacker. He was effective as a pass rushing OLB, tallying up 14 sacks in one season with the Dolphins jerseys, and as an inside run stopping linebacker with the Jets jerseys.
Cox was also a vocal leader of the teams he played for, directing his defenses to success.
He is most known for the neck plate he wore behind his head, but don’t let that distract you from his great play on the field.
No. 49, Vaughn Johnson (Saints jerseys/Eagles jerseys) (1986 1994) Four time Pro Bowler One time 2nd Team All Pro.
Johnson was most known for his days with the Saints jerseys. He was a very solid 3 4 ILB playing on one of the best LB Cores of all time, the Dome Patrol.
Johnson wasn’t very flashy, but he was very solid all around, which is why he sneaks onto the list.
Call it foreshadowing, but you will see some of his teammates higher up on this list.
No. 48, cheap Terrell Suggs jersey (Ravens jerseys) (2003 Present) Three time Pro Bowler One time 2nd Team All Pro
Suggs is a pass rushing monster with the Ravens jerseys. He already has 57.5 sacks in his short career, along with 16 forced fumbles.