Linebackers (20)

Kevin Greene, Ray Lewis, Junior Seau Sam Mills, Brian Urlacher.

Modern Positional Average

Linebackers: Kevin Greene (2016), Ray Lewis (2018), Junior Seau (2015),  Brian Urlacher (2018), Sam Mills (2022)

Stats

  • Games 219.4
  • Approximate Value 163.4
  • AV/G 0.7448
  • Pro Bowls 8.4
  • First Team All-Pros 4
  • Interceptions 17.4
  • Quarterback Sacks 64
  • Tackles 1453

201 Pre-Season Rank #10, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #18.

Wagner's impressive run in Seattle came to an end as he is now a Los Angeles Ram.  With the Seahawks, he went to the last eight Pro Bowls, was a six-time First Team All-Pro, and a two-time leader in Combined Tackles.  He is now the top Linebacker on this list, surpassing Von Miller, and he could add a second Super Bowl this year with Los Angeles, which could have never transpired with Seattle in 2022.  Look for the Linebacker to break the plane of Tackles in MPA. Wagner may not get the press that his teammates have, but there are few peers on the field.

Stats

  • Games 151 (-68.4)
  • Approximate Value 137 (-26.4)
  • AV/G 0.9073 (+0.1625)
  • Pro Bowls 8 (-0.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 6 (+2)
  • Interceptions 11 (-6.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 23.5 (-40.5)
  • Tackles 1383 (-70)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #8,2020 Pre-Season Rank #10.

Miller began the 2021 Season as a former Super Bowl Champion and Super Boel MVP, and we said he was already a Hall of Famer.  At the end of 2021, Miller was a Los Angeles Ram, and a two-time Super Bowl winner, and now he joins the highly favored Buffalo Bills on a chase for a third ring.  Miller's prime is over, but even if he is average this year on a great team, his legacy will only grow.  The question now for us is what ballot he enters the Hall; first, second or third.


Stats

  • Games 150 (-69.4)
  • Approximate Value 124 (-39.4)
  • AV/G 0.8267 (+0.0819)
  • Pro Bowls 8 (-0.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 3 (-1)
  • Interceptions 2 (-15.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 115.5 (+51.5)
  • Tackles 540 (-913)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #26, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #29.

A former Defensive Player of the Year, and All-Decade Selection, Mack has had six straight years as a Pro Bowl Selection and he has been rewarded three times as a First Team All-Pro, however, he is coming off his last year in Chicago where he was best with injuries and was average when he did play.  Mack is in the conversation for the Hall, but he needs a bounce back year in his new environment with the Chargers.  Notably, he has a higher AV/G at his position.

Stats

  • Games 117 (-102.4)
  • Approximate Value 94 (-69.4)
  • AV/G 0.8034 (+0.0586)
  • Pro Bowls 6 (-2.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 3 (-1)
  • Interceptions 3 (-14.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 76.5 (+12.5)
  • Tackles 467 (-986)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #68, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #102.

Now a five-year veteran, Watt had a monster 2021 where he led the NFL in Sacks and Tackles for Loss (both for the second straight year), won the Defensive Player of the Year, which many pundits predicted for the young Linebacker.  No other defensive player climbed this list higher in the last two years, and with his youth and skill, he should climb many more rungs in the next two years.  If anything, we might be currently ranking him too low right now.

Stats

  • Games 77 (-142.4)
  • Approximate Value 65 (-98.4)
  • AV/G 0.8442 (+0.0994)
  • Pro Bowls 4 (-4.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 3 (-1)
  • Interceptions 4 (-13.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 72.5 (+8.5)
  • Tackles 294 (-1159)
2021 Pre-Season Rank #44, 2020 Pre Season Rank #45

Mosley’s AV/G is higher than the average MPA for a Linebacker, though his traditional numbers are low for this stage of his career, and he doesn’t have that First Team All-Pro.  After five years in Baltimore, Mosley joined the Jets in 2019, but only played two games due to a groin injury, and opted ut of 2020 due to COVID concerns.  2021 was not the comeback he needed, and this could be a make-or-break year for his Hall of Fame chances.

Stats

  • Games 95 (-124.4)
  • Approximate Value 73 (-90.4)
  • AV/G 0.7684 (+0.0236)
  • Pro Bowls 4 (-4.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 10 (-7.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 10.5 (-53.5)
  • Tackles 756 (-697)

2020 Pre-Season Rank #77.

Sure, it is only four years, but his AV/G is higher than any other Linebacker, and he is only one of two defensive players with a number of one or higher; the other being Aaron Donald.  If Leonard and the Colts rise like many people think they can, it could be another huge vault up this list for the young star.  Don't rule out a future DPOY for Leonard.

Stats

  • Games 58 (-161.4)
  • Approximate Value 59 (-104.4)
  • AV/G 1.0172 (+0.2724)
  • Pro Bowls 3 (-5.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 3 (-1)
  • Interceptions 11 (-6.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 15 (-49)
  • Tackles 538 (-915)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #81, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #74.

Jones bounced back last year from injury, adding a fourth Pro Bowl and rocketing over 100 Sacks.  This year, the 32-year-old Linebacker joins Las Vegas after six years in Arizona and is back on the fringe of a Hall of Fame push.  Three more years like 2021 will do wonders for his candidacy.

Stats

  • Games 139 (-80.4)
  • Approximate Value 88 (-75.4)
  • AV/G 0.6331 (-0.1117)
  • Pro Bowls 4 (-4.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 2 (-2)
  • Interceptions 0 (-17.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 107.5 (+43.5)
  • Tackles 473 (-980)

20221 Pre-Season #83, Last Year’s Rank #94.

We argued that Lavonte David was one of the most underrated players of the 2010s, and we think that is even more true in football history.  Let's say that is true, as underrated players have made the Hall, but David s at a level that makes it difficult for the career-Buccaneer to crack the plane that will give him Canton consideration.

Stats

  • Games 149 (-70.4)
  • Approximate Value 95 (-68.4)
  • AV/G 0.6376 (-0.1072)
  • Pro Bowls 1 (-7.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 1 (-3)
  • Interceptions 12 (-5.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 26 (-38)
  • Tackles 1222 (-231)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #69, 2021 Pre-Season Rank #68.

In 2014, Houston led the NFL with 22 Sacks, and he went to four straight Pro Bowls ending in 2015.  That seems like a long time ago, as he has been average since, and unless he has another Pro Bowl-worthy year, he won’t make it to Canton.  Houston now joins the Baltimore Ravens, a bona fide Super Bowl contender.  A ring and an additional personal accolade would be monstrous for his chances, but it is not looking good.

Stats

  • Games 149 (-70.4)
  • Approximate Value 89 (-74.4)
  • AV/G 0.5973 (-0.1475)
  • Pro Bowls 4 (-4.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 1 (-3)
  • Interceptions 4 (-13.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 102 (+38)
  • Tackles 485 (-968)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #84, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #79.

Barr had four consecutive Pro Bowl years (2015-18) but did so without a First or Second Team All-Pro Selection.  In 2022, Barr leaves Minnesota for the first time, becoming a Dallas Cowboy, and needs to regain Pro Bowl form for any Hall of Fame consideration.

Stats

  • Games 98 (-121.4)
  • Approximate Value 60 (-103.4)
  • AV/G 0.6122 (-0.1326)
  • Pro Bowls 4 (-4.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 5 (-12.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 17 (-47)
  • Tackles 495 (-958)
2021 Pre-Season Rank: #100, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #102

Playing for the New England since 2012 and winning three Super Bowls will raise your profile, but he is a two-time Pro Bowler and he put himself on the fringe of the Hall of Fame hunt last year with an Approximate Value season of 17.  The momentum halted in 2020, as he opted oyt of the season due to COVID-19, but he rebounded nicely in 2021.

Stats

  • Games 117 (-102.4)
  • Approximate Value 76 (-87.4)
  • AV/G 0.6495 (-0.0953)
  • Pro Bowls 2 (-6.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 1 (-16.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 27 (-37)
  • Tackles 569 (-884)

2021 Pre-Season Rank: 120, 2020 Pre-Season Rank #142.

Edmunds has only played four seasons, but is now a two-time Pro Bowl Selection on what is one of the best young defences in football.  He could rocket up this list next year.

Stats

  • Games 61 (-158.4)
  • Approximate Value 42 (-121.4)
  • AV/G 0.6885 (-0.0563)
  • Pro Bowls 2 (-6.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 4 (-13.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 5.5 (-58.5)
  • Tackles 463 (-990)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #142

Warner quietly had a monster 2020, and although he did not repeat that in 2021, he has only played four seasons, and is capable of another huge season in the NFL.

Stats

  • Games 64 (-155.4)
  • Approximate Value 43 (-120.4)
  • AV/G .6719 (-0.0729)
  • Pro Bowls 1 (-7.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 1 (-3)
  • Interceptions 3 (-14.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 4.0 (-60)
  • Tackles 504 (-949)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #133

Kendricks was a First Team All-Pro in 2019, and needs a year like that again, which he is capable of.

Stats

  • Games 100 (-119.4)
  • Approximate Value 58 (-105.4)
  • AV/G .5800 (-0.1648)
  • Pro Bowls 1 (-7.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 1 (-3)
  • Interceptions 9 (-8.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 14 (-50)
  • Tackles 782 (-671)

2021 Pre-SeasonRank #146.

Smith was a Second Team All-Pro the last two years year, which are the first major individual accolade that the Linebacker earned as a pro.  He has only played four years so there should be plenty of time for Smith to make a Hall of Fame case.

Stats

  • Games 61 (-158.4)
  • Approximate Value 41 (-122.4)
  • AV/G .6721 (-0.0727)
  • Pro Bowls 0 (-8.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 5 (-12.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 14 (-50)
  • Tackles 524 (-929)

2021 Pre-SeasonRank Unranked

Davis is a veteran who has never made the Pro Bowl, but was a First Team All-Pro in 2019 with the Saints.  Davis likely will not have the time left to make the Hall, but he did make this list and has horses left to achieve something special.  

Stats

  • Games 61 (-158.4)
  • Approximate Value 41 (-122.4)
  • AV/G .6721 (-0.0727)
  • Pro Bowls 0 (-8.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 5 (-12.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 14 (-50)
  • Tackles 524 (-929)

2021 Pre-SeasonRank Unranked

Davis is a veteran who has never made the Pro Bowl, but was a First Team All-Pro in 2019 with the Saints.  Davis likely will not have the time left to make the Hall, but he did make this list and has horses left to achieve something special.  

Stats

  • Games 61 (-158.4)
  • Approximate Value 41 (-122.4)
  • AV/G .6721 (-0.0727)
  • Pro Bowls 0 (-8.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 5 (-12.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 14 (-50)
  • Tackles 524 (-929)

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2021 Pre-Season Rank Unranked

White has only been an NFL pro for three seasons, but they have been very good, with a Super Bowl Ring, a Pro Bowl Selection and a Second Team All-Pro nod.  He is not getting a lot of attention despite the powerhouse team he plays for (Tampa Bay), but that could change with continued excellent play.

Stats

  • Games 45 (-174.4)
  • Approximate Value 33 (-130.4)
  • AV/G .7333 (-0.0115)
  • Pro Bowls 1 (-7.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 1 (-16.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 15.5 (-48.5)
  • Tackles 359 (-1094)

2021 Pre-Season Rank #134.

Young showed limitless ptential in his 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign, but 2021 saw injuries, disappointment and regression.  He begins this season on the shelf, and it is the promise of what could be that keeps Young from dropping off the list.

Stats

  • Games 24 (-195.4)
  • Approximate Value 18 (-145.4)
  • AV/G .7500 (+0.0052)
  • Pro Bowls 1 (-7.4)
  • First Team All-Pros 0 (-4)
  • Interceptions 0 (-17.4)
  • Quarterback Sacks 9 (-55)
  • Tackles 70 (-1383)