Inside linebackers are the guys who help defenses break down what’s happening at the line of scrimmage. Most of the time they are pretty much the commander of the defense. It takes a lot of talent and trust to be an inside linebacker in the NFL. Here are the top 10 ILB’s in the NFL today.
Top Inside Linebackers in NFL
10) Ryan Shazier
Shazier recorded 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks, nine pass deflections in 13 games. He is a speedy veteran linebacker in the middle of the Steelers’ defense. He has an extremely explosive first step, which makes him a disruptive playmaker in both pass and rush defense. It also gives him the ability to cover both running backs and tight ends.
9) Eric Kendricks
Kendricks is coming off a breakout year. He recorded 109 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one interception, and nine pass deflections. In only his second season out of UCLA, Kendricks is only going to get better. He trusts his instincts, which allows him to dissect the play quickly. One of the most productive tacklers at UCLA, Kendricks always somehow finds his way to the football.
8) C.J. Mosley
Mosley recorded 92 tackles in 14 games. The Alabama product was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2016. The heart in the center of the Baltimore defense, his biggest improvement has come in pass coverage where he has four interceptions and eight pass deflections. He has quick hands and feet and some great route awareness. He is also an explosive tackler.
7) Bobby Wagner
Wagner set the Seahawks franchise single season tackles record with 167. He is the heart of Seattle’s dangerous front seven. Along with Keuchly, he received PFF’s All-Pro First Team honors. He is an impact hitter with great instincts. Wagner sniffs out the play easily and hits the gap hard. Although undersized, Wagner is amongst the hardest hitters in the league.
6) Danny Trevathan
Trevathan was signed by the Bears this offseason to solidify the linebacking corp with Jerrell Freeman. He made 66 tackles playing in only nine games. Last season with the Broncos he recorded 109 tackles en route to a Super Bowl. He relies mainly on his speed, as he is amongst the undersized lateral moving linebackers in the league.
5) Brandon Marshall
Only appearing in 11 games, Marshall made 52 tackles for the Broncos. A key part of their Super Bowl run last season, Marshall recorded 102 tackles. He plays hard and certainly doesn’t lack in the hustle category. He trusts his instincts and breaks down plays quickly and easily.
4) Jerrell Freeman
Freeman was suspended four games in the beginning of the season. However, he still went on to make 110 combined tackles in 12 games. He made at least nine tackles in each of his last four games. Freeman is said to be one of the top run defense LB’s in the league.
3) Derrick Johnson
Johnson recorded a total of 90 tackles in 13 games this season. He has over 1,000 tackles in his career and is the Chiefs’ all-time leading tackler. 82% of his tackles this past season were registered as solo tackles, which is 20% above the league average.
2) Navorro Bowman
Injured most of year, Bowman recorded only 35 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, and two pass deflections in four games. Last season he led the NFL in tackles with 154. He is undoubtedly the face of the 49ers franchise and the leader of not only their defense, but their entire team.
1) Luke Keuchly
Luke Keuchly is a warhorse. Although his season was ended early due to a concussion this year, he posted 102 tackles in 10 games, and was named to PFF’s All-Pro First Team. His playmaking is evident, as he had six passes defended, two sacks, and one forced fumble last season. No one has more tackles per game than Keuchly since he joined the NFL in 2012.
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