11). Minnesota Vikings The Vikings have one of the best young linebacking corps in the NFL with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. They have long-time veteran Chad Greenway manning the weak side, with the two young studs working the middle and strong side. If they keep this group together, they could be at the top of this list in a few short years.
10). Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have one of the best young linebackers in the game in Lavonte David. He is joined by Kwon Alexander, Danny Lansanah, and free agent signing Daryl Smith. These linebackers could be the key to a possible wild card playoff run for the Bucs.
9). Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are led by Terrell Suggs, C.J,. Moseley and Elvis Dumervil. They did lose both Courtney Upshaw and Daryl Smith in free agency.
8). Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have a stud linebacking unit that is highlighted by Ryan Shazier, Bud Dupree and Lawrence Timmons. The return of veteran James Harrison gives this group an experienced emotional leader.
7). New England Patriots
The Pats have a very solid and borderline elite linebacking corps anchored by Jamie Collings and Dont’a Hightower. As always the Patriots have players that will be in position at all times.
6). Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals were able to bolster the look of their linebacking corps in 2016 by signing free agent LB Karlos Dansby. He joins Vontaze Burfict, Rey Maualuga and Vincent Rey in a formidable crew of linebackers. Look for second year linebacker P.J. Dawson out of TCU to get more playing time this year.
5). Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals struck gold with Deone Bucannon and moving him to the hybrid linebacker position. This corps also includes budding superstar Markus Golden and free agent acquisition Jason Babin.
4). Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have dominated with defense and even though they lost Bruce Irvin to free agency, this unit is among the league’s elite. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are defensive juggernauts. The loss of Irvin does drop them down some.
3). Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were able to keep their corps together in spite of many becoming free agents. Anchored by legendary MLB Derrick Johnson, this unit also has elite pass rushers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali working the edges. Linebacker is the strength of the Chiefs defense and allows them the chance to compete for a playoff berth, they are that good.
2). Carolina Panthers
The game’s best linebacker Luke Kuechly anchors a squad that also includes stud Thomas Davis and emerging star Shaq Thompson. This is a virtual tie between Denver and Carolina.
1). Denver Broncos
In spite of losing their leading tackler Danny Trevathan to the Bears in free agency, this unit boasts the Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, rising star Brandon Marshall and sack guru DeMarcus Ware. This is a team that won the Super Bowl because of their defense and this defense gives them a shot to repeat this year.