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


Published: July 7, 2009

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... they're no longer the unquestioned leader of a defense.

Back in the 70's, 80's, and 90's the middle linebacker was the quarterback of the defense. He was that guy who played middle linebacker partly because of his size, but mostly because he was the smartest guy on that side of the ball and a natural leader.

That's not to say that the middle linebackers today aren't smart or natural leaders, but teams don't necessarily rely on them to quarterback the defense any longer.

The Eagles, for example, used Brian Dawkins a lot to make defensive calls on the field. This was even before the young Stewart Bradley took over the spot. Jeremiah Trotter made his fair share of calls, but Dawkins was the unquestioned leader.

The position is evolving, but these guys are having no problem evolving with it.


5. Stewart Bradley (Philadelphia Eagles)

17 games started, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 100 tackles


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