The Top Five: Best 3-4 Inside Linebackers in the NFL


Published: July 8, 2009

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... be asked to drop into pass coverage and blitz a little more often. They also may deal with guards more than a MIKE linebacker, because unlike the MIKE, they are lined up directly in front of the guards.

There is a certain skill that goes to play inside linebacker in the 3-4 rather than playing MIKE, as Jonathan Vilma found out when the Jets made the transition around him.

With the 3-4 now being run by about half the league, the position is in greater demand and gaining exposure around the league.

These are the guys who every 3-4 wishes they could have.


5. Jerod Mayo (New England Patriots)

16 games started, 1 forced fumble, 98 tackles, 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year

Mayo only has one season under his belt, but what a fine season it was.

Bill Belichick doesn't usually use rookies in his linebacking corps because it's difficult for them to transition into his complex system, and it's much easier f...

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