With the NFL season upon us, at GoldSheet, we are ranking each positional group and coaching staff in the NFL. Each positional group will be ranked and placed into a tier to give us a better understanding of how each team is expected to fare at each position.
Linebacker is quickly becoming one of the least valued positions on defense. That is not to say linebackers are not important or that there are not great players who play the position. Moreso, this is just an evaluation of the market and how teams value the position – teams often look to shop on the bargain rack for LBs in free agency or in the draft. The true studs, of course, get their due.
There are a lot of players who are listed as outside linebackers who primarily rush the passer. For simplicity, those players who are listed in our defensive line rankings and most will not be listed here. Due to this, there will be no player ranking to end this article – I will just be ranking each team’s true inside or middle linebacker position.
Without further ado, let’s break down all 32 LB rooms and put them into tiers.
2023 NFL LB Rankings
* Indicates a rookie
! Indicates a new starter
No. 1 San Francisco 49ers
Oren Burks, Dre Greenlaw, Curtis Robinson, Fred Warner
No. 2 Miami Dolphins
David Long!, Jerome Baker, Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Duke Riley, Malik Reed
No. 3 Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Queen, Roquan Smith, Trenton Simpson, Malik Harrison
No. 4 Denver Broncos
Baron Browning, Josey Jewell, Alex Singleton, Randy Gregory, Nik Bonitto, Drew Sanders!
No. 5 Green Bay Packers
De’vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Eric Wilson, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Lukas Van Ness*
No. 6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin White, Lavonte David, Yaya Diaby, K.J. Britt
The 49ers have had the best LB room for a few years running now, and this unit is still great. The Dolphins, Broncos, and Packers all have great depth at this position, with some ascending players. The Ravens and Buccaneers have two absolute studs bookending their linebacking corps. Without including any other OLBs who rush the passer, these teams have the best pure linebackers.
No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles
Nicholas Morrow!, Nakobe Dean, Zach Cunningham, Myles Jack
No. 8 Dallas Cowboys
Damone Clark, Leighton Vander Esch, Jabril Cox, Micha Parsons
No. 9 Cincinnati Bengals
Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, Markus Bailey, Akeem Davis-Gaither
No. 10 New York Jets
Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, C.J. Mosley, Nick Vigil, Caleb Johnson*, Will McDonald*
No. 11 Jacksonville Jaguars
Josh Allen, Yasir Abdullah*, Travon Walker, K’Lavon Chaisson, Foyesade Oluokun, Devin Lloyd, Ventrell Miller*, Chad Muma
No. 12 Chicago Bears
T.J. Edwards!, Tremaine Edmunds!, Jack Sanborn, Noah Sewell*
No. 13 New Orleans Saints
Pete Werner, Demario Davis, Zack Baun, Jaylon Smith
No. 14 Pittsburgh Steelers
Cole Holecomb!, Elandon Roberts, Nick Herbig, Kwon Alexander
No. 15 Houston Texans
Christian Harris, Denzel Perryman!, Cory Littleton!, Blake Cashman, To’oTo’o Henry*
When not including OLBs who rush the passer, this list looks much, much different. Micha Parsons is on both lists because he is a unicorn. The Steelers would be much higher if some of their pass rushers were included. The Bengals, Saints, Jets, Bears, and Texans have more traditional linebacking corps that are solid bunches, whether you look at linebackers who rush the passer or not.
No. 16 Kansas City Chiefs
Willie Gay, Leo Chenal, Nick Bolton, Drue Tranquill
No. 17 Cleveland Browns
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Anthony Walker, Jordan Kunaszyk, Sione Takitaki, Tony Fields
No. 18 Buffalo Bills
Matt Milano, Terrel Bernard, Tyrel Dodson, Dorian Williams!
No. 19 Minnesota Vikings
Brian Asamoah, Troy Reader, Jordan Hicks, Ivan Pace*
No. 20 Tennessee Titans
Azeez Al-Shaair, Chance Campbell, Jack Gibbens, Harold Landry, Arden Key
No. 21 Detroit Lions
Jack Campbell!*, Derrick Barnes, Charles Harris, Alex Anzalone, James Houston
No. 22 Carolina Panthers
Shaq Thompson, Frankie Luvu, Justin Houston, Marquis Haynes
No. 23 Los Angeles Chargers
Tuli Tuipulotu*, Eric Kendricks!, Kenneth Murray, Nick Niemann, Daiyan Henley*
No. 24 New York Giants
Jarrad Davis, Bobby Okereke!, Darrian Beavers, Carter Coughlin
No. 25 New England Patriots
Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavia, Marte Mapu, Chris Board
The Bills and Chiefs have a stud at linebacker, but without adding some players to the Panthers, Vikings, and Bills, these units look very weak. A lot of these teams are solid defensively elsewhere, but solely at linebacker, these teams leave a lot to be desired.
No. 26 Indianapolis Colts
E.J. Speed, Zaire Franklin, Shaq Leonard, Segun Olubi
No. 27 Atlanta Falcons
Bud Dupree, Lorezno Carter, Kaden Elliss!, Troy Anderson
No. 28 Seattle Seahawks
Boye Mafe, Uchenna Nwosu, Derrick Hall, Jordyn Brooks, Bobby Wagner!
No. 29 Washington Commanders
Jamin Davis, Cody Barton, David Mayo, Milo Eifler, Khaleke Hudson
No. 30 Las Vegas Raiders
Robert Spillane!, Divine Deablo, Darien Butler
No. 31 Arizona Cardinals
Myjail Sanders, Kyzir White!, Cameron Thomas
No. 32 Los Angeles Rams
Byron Young!, Daniel Hardy, Michael Hoecht, Keir Thomas
All of these teams, regardless of position classification, are weak at linebacker. The Colts have Shaq Leonard, but until he is healthy again for a season, there is not much to be excited about. Outside of Washington, the rest of these teams just simply have bad defenses, and the linebacker position is no exception.
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