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2008 Player Rankings: Linebackers
Updated: August 30, 2008
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Rank Player Team Bye Comments
1 DeMeco Ryans HOU 8 Ryans is an absolute beast that will continue to rack up tackles and make big plays for years to come.
2 Patrick Willis SFO 9 Consider Willis a very close "1B" to Ryans as "1A", based mainly on the 3-4 set the Niners run.
3 Brian Urlacher CHI 8 Looking great so far this pre-season, and the Bears' D will be on the field a bunch.  Expect 100+ solos.
4 London Fletcher WAS 10 Finally, an "old guy".  Fletcher's the best of the veterans.  He'll continue to put up solid stats for the Skins.
5 Jon Beason CAR 9 Slight bump down with Thomas Davis moving to WLB.  Still will put up huge numbers.
6 David Harris NYJ 5 Slight move down with the addition of Favre to the offense.  May not put up as gaudy of tackle stats.
7 Nick Barnett GBP 8 Barnett could fly a bit under the radar with Hawk stealing some of the thunder, but Barnett is still a top-10 LB.
8 Kirk Morrison OAK 5 Morrison is another one of those "beast-like" LBs who can put up monster numbers.  Will Howard steal tackles, though?
9 Lofa Tatupu SEA 4 Has a few bumps and bruises but is definitely Seattle's heart and soul on defense.  He'll put up numbers.
10 Will Witherspoon  STL 5 Another "older" LB that can still put up #1-type numbers.  Expect a ton of tackles, yet again.
11 Ernie Sims DET 4 Some might think the addition of Dizon will hurt his production.  It may actually allow him to make more big plays.
12 Jonathon Vilma NOS 9 The move to the Saints with their 4-3 base defense could be just what the doctor ordered.
13 Paul Posluszny BUF 6 Had a disappointing '07 due to injury but will bounce back to put up very solid stats.  Could easily move into top-10.
14 Ray Lewis BAL 10 Lewis is in the twilight of his career but will go down fighting.  Expect a good tackle total and decent big play ability. 
15 Antonio Pierce NYG 4 The Giant D will again be pretty solid despite the loss of Umenyiora; Pierce anchors this unit.  Expect 100+ tackles.
16 Lance Briggs CHI 8 Even with Urlacher at his side, Briggs puts up very solid numbers.  Awesome #2 fantasy LB, borderline #1.
17 Mike Peterson JAC 7 Some injury risk, but Peterson has been a top fantasy LB for years and could have a bounce-back season.
18 Barrett Ruud TBB 10 Ruud has surpassed Derrick Brooks as the most desirable Buc LB.  Expect a very solid season.
19 E.J. Henderson MIN 8 This guy came out of nowhere to post good tackle and sack numbers.  Expect about the same this season.
20 Zach Thomas DAL 10 Expect him to put forth a big effort in his home state.  The 3-4 situation isn't the best, but he should put up good stats.
21 Karlos Dansby ARI 7 Dansby will continue to be a good #2 fantasy LB with the potential for a big game now and then.
22 Gary Brackett IND 4 Brackett is getting up there in age and Keiaho is developing, but he'll remain consistent for your fantasy team.
23 A.J. Hawk GBP 8 He's certainly got the talent to be a top-10 LB but is playing second-fiddle to Barnett.  Still a solid fantasy LB.
24 Keith Bulluck TEN 6 Already dinged up in pre-season.  Not the way you want to start out a (hopeful) bounce-back season.
25 Freddie Keiaho IND 4 Keiaho showed flashes last year that he has the talent to post top-10 fantasy numbers.  Not much risk, high reward.
26 D.J. Williams DEN 8 Another "beast", that some say has even more upside  The switch back to WLB may hinder the upside.
27 James Farrior PIT 6 Farrior's ability to make big plays makes him an intriguing choice as a #2 fantasy LB.  Consummate "do everything" LB.
28 Michael Boley ATL 7 Boley, despite spending time on the strong side, is just too talented to not be considered a solid fantasy LB.
29 Angelo Crowell BUF 6 There are some injury concerns, but played 16 games last year.  Could put up decent, #2-fantasy LB numbers.
30 Thomas Howard OAK 5 Like his teammate Morrison, is a beast that can put up big numbers.  The Raider D could be a fantasy goldmine.
31 Donnie Edwards KCC 6 The old man will continue to anchor the Chief defense.  With Allen gone, there could be more big play opportunities.
32 Curtis Lofton ATL 7 It wasn't a sure thing that Lofton would start in the middle for the Falcons, but it looks like he will.  That's huge.
33 Keith Rivers CIN 8 Steps into a good situation, which looks better with Thurman gone.  Could put up some big numbers.
34 Channing Crowder MIA 4 Performed well when filling in for Zach Thomas, now he gets the spot all to himself.  Can he remain consistent?
35 Chad Greenway MIN 8 Put up some decent numbers even with Henderson's breakout season.  Expect decent numbers again this year.
36 Julian Peterson SEA 4 Peterson is a solid veteran that puts up great sack numbers for a LB.  Don't let him fall in your drafts.
37 Nate Webster DEN 8 Looks like Webster overtook Niko Koutouvdes for the starting MLB spot in Denver.  This could mean 100+ tackles.
38 Demarcus Ware DAL 10 This guy is just too good to keep down for long.  Will the addition of Thomas help?  It could.
39 Jordon Dizon DET 4 Could be the best rookie LB this year.  Definitely in a good situation, even with Sims' production on the weak side.
40 Jerod Mayo NEP 4 The rookie is impressing the most steadfast of veteran supporters, Bill Belichick.  He could up very good numbers.
41 Shawne Merriman SDC 9 The injury is a big concern.  Looks like he'll try playing through the pain.  This will not end well.
42 D'Qwell Jackson CLE 5 Don't expect much more than a solid tackle total, but as a #3 fantasy LB, he'll get consistent numbers.
43 Keith Brooking ATL 7 Keep an eye on the injury and positional news, but Brooking has the skills to put up good numbers.
44 Derrick Johnson KCC 6 Eventually, Johnson will take the reins as the Chiefs' defensive leader.  He could see a bump-up in his sack total.
45 Gerald Hayes ARI 7 There's enough tackles to go around on the Cardinal defensive side.  A very consistent tackler.
46 Derrick Brooks TBB 10 The veteran has talented backups breathing down his neck but probably has another year or two in him.
47 David Thornton TEN 6 Put up some solid numbers last year with Bulluck struggling.  Expect a consistent tackle total and not much else.
48 Vernon Gholston NYJ 5 Moved to LB in most league management sites.  Bump him down, overall, but could have his share of big games.
49 Omar Gaither PHI 7 A bit of a disappointment last year but could easily be the leading tackler for the Eagles in 2008.
50 Adalius Thomas NEP 4 Thomas' numbers weren't that bad in 2007 and will probably improve somewhat in 2008.
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