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Positional Rankings: Inside Linebackers

Offense · Defense
 
Safeties · Cornerbacks · Inside Linebackers · Outside Linebackers · Tackle · End

 
Pete Prisco ranks his top NFL players at each position, while colwolverine provided his list of top inside linebackers. Also check out Prisco's Top 50

Inside Linebackers
1. Patrick Willis, 49erscolwolverine's Rankings

Games played: 16 Tackles: 141
Sacks: 1 Interceptions: 1
Analysis: He's a tackling machine. In two years, he's established himself as one of the league's best defensive players.
1. Ray Lewis, Ravens
Comment: He's still a dominant force in the NFL. Not only does he rack up tackles, but he is a good pass-rushing LB who has great hands to pick off passes.
2. DeMeco Ryans, Texans

Games played: 16 Tackles: 112
Sacks: 1 Interceptions: 0
Analysis: He's an every-down linebacker who is key to the Houston defense. As the team gets more exposure he will as well.
2. Patrick Willis, 49ers
Comment: Great young linebacker. He's awesome in coverage and really picks up the slack of the rest of the 49ers' defense.
3. Ray Lewis, Ravens

Games played: 16 Tackles: 117
Sacks: 3.5 Interceptions: 3
Analysis: Is he what he was in his prime? No. Is he still very good? You bet.
3. DeMeco Ryans, Texans
Comment: He is simply the best and most underrated young LB in the NFL. Ryans improves every single year and he does it on a team that lacks interior talent on the defensive line, and lacks help at the Outside LB spot. Now that he has rising star Mario Williams and rookie OLB Brian Cushing to take pressure off of him, he'll only get better.
4. Jon Beason, Panthers

Games played: 16 Tackles: 138
Sacks: 0 Interceptions: 3
Analysis: He diagnoses so much better than his age. He also has great speed to get to the football.
4. Jon Beason, Panthers
Comment: This guy is an up and coming star. He really racked up tackles last season and took command of the Panthers defense.
5. D'Qwell Jackson, Browns

Games played: 16 Tackles: 154
Sacks: 2 Interceptions: 3
Analysis: On any other team he's a household name. He gets lost playing on a bad Cleveland defense.
5. London Fletcher, Redskins
Comment: This guy has found the fountain of youth. He's playing his MLB spot like he's 25 years old, with the talent of a All-pro. He will only get better, once Albert Haynesworth gives him bigger holes to get through.
6. Brian Urlacher, Bears

Games played: 16 Tackles: 93
Sacks: 0 Interceptions: 2
Analysis: He's still one of the better middle linebackers, but he's slipped some in recent years. He needs a bounce-back season.
6. Stewart Bradley, Eagles
Comment: Awesome linebacker for Philadelphia. He's not a big name player, but he does rack up the tackles and helps keep that defense strong.
7. Jerod Mayo, Patriots

Games played: 16 Tackles: 128
Sacks: 0 Interceptions: 0
Analysis: As a rookie, he established himself as a future star. He brings a lot of athleticism to a unit that needs it.
7. Kirk Morrison, Raiders
Comment: Oakland has a great young tandem of LB's with Morrison and Thomas Howard. Morrison is a sideline to sideline player who makes interceptions look easy.
8. Kirk Morrison, Raiders

Games played: 16 Tackles: 135
Sacks: 1 Interceptions: 1
Analysis: Here's another player who doesn't get the due he deserves because he plays on a bad team. Watch him some time. You'll like his play.
8. Barrett Ruud, Buccaneers
Comment: It's a pretty good compliment when you can outshine superstar LB Derrick Brooks in his own home. Barrett Ruud was a terror last season and I hate that he plays in the NFC. He's going to be a great player for years to come.
9. Bart Scott, Jets

Games played: 16 Tackles: 82
Sacks: 1.5 Interceptions: 0
Analysis: He moves to the Jets where he leaves the shadow of Ray Lewis. He talks a good game, but backs it up.
9. Brian Urlacher, Bears
Comment: He declined last season in terms of tackles. His contract disputes and his nagging neck injury seem to be slowing him down and he continues to get outshined by OLB Lance Briggs. Even with all his troubles, he still is a top MLB.
10. Barrett Ruud, Buccaneers

Games played: 16 Tackles: 137
Sacks: 3 Interceptions: 2
Analysis: He plays the all-important middle in the Tampa-2 and does it well. He's a tackling machine.
10. Paul Posluszny, Bills
Comment: From what I saw of this guy last year, he was amazing. I loved how he was the leader of the Bills' defense and really took charge on the field. He needs to prove that it wasn't a one-year stint in order to move up the list.
 
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