When it comes to outside linebackers in the NFL, there have been some truly dominant players throughout the history of the league. These players have consistently disrupted opposing offenses and made life difficult for running backs and receivers.
Top 5 Outside Linebackers of All-Time
1 Lawrence Taylor
Taylor is one of the most dominant and feared linebackers in the NFL. He recorded 132.5 sacks in his 13-year career. He is widely considered the greatest defensive player of all-time and is one of two defensive players to win the NFL MVP award. He was a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the Pro Bowl eight times. Taylor is known for his speed, strength, and versatility, allowing him to effectively play both defensive end and outside linebacker. He was a strong pass rusher and a solid run defender. He was also a key contributor to the New York Giants‘ Super Bowl wins in 1986 and 1990.
2 Derrick Thomas
Thomas played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989 to 1999, and recorded 126.5 sacks in his career. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro. Thomas is known for his speed, agility, and ability to get to the quarterback quickly. He was also a strong-run defender and a leader on and off the field.
3 Derrick Brooks
Brooks played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1995 to 2008 and recorded 1,698 tackles in his career. He is an 11-time Pro Bowler and a five-time All-Pro. Brooks is known for his intelligence, versatility, and ability to drop back into coverage and make plays on the ball. He was also a leader on and off the field, and was a key contributor to the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win in 2002.
4 Jack Ham
Ham played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1971 to 1982 and recorded 32 sacks in his career. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and was named First-Team All-Pro six times. Ham is known for his ability to make plays on the ball. He was also a strong run defender and a leader on the field. He won 4 Super Bowls with the Steelers.
5 Bobby Bell
Bell played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963 to 1974 and recorded 25 sacks in his career. He is a nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro. He was a key contributor to the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win in 1970.
These players have left an indelible mark on the NFL and have set the standard for future outside linebackers to follow. Their dominance on the field, their statistics, and their awards are a testament to their greatness. They are true legends of the game, and their legacies will be remembered for years.