The DC Times

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By Jonathan Bales

NFL’s 10 Best 3-4 Outside Linebackers: Do Ware, Spencer Top the List?

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1. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys

Ware received a 94.0 overall grade from us–tied for highest on the team.  He led all 3-4 linebackers in pressures with 56.  In comparison, the No. 2 guy tallied just 36.

2. Lamarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers

Woodley was fourth in the NFL in pressures, second in sacks, and he is one of the league’s top run defenders.

3. Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys

Spencer accumulated quarterbacks hits at 1.77 times the rate of Ware in his breakout 2009 season.  Not bad for a player who may be the league’s best run defending linebacker.

4. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers

Harrison had a “down” year after an incredible 2008 season.  He still racked up 10 sacks and was third in the NFL with 34 pressures.

5. Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos

Dumervil led the league in sacks in 2009 with 17.  The reason he is not higher on this list is because his size makes it difficult for him to be anything more than an average run defender.

6. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers

Matthews had a tremendous overall 2009 season and will be a cornerstone of the new Green Bay 3-4 defense.

7. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs

We stated above that Ware led the NFL in quarterback pressures.  Hali was second.  His run support will have to improve for him to make a move up the list.

8. Shawne Merriman, San Diego Chargers

Since being caught taking steroids, Merriman has been anything but dominant.  He’s battled injuries during that time, but either way, everyone now knows made the correct decision in the Ware/Merriman draft debate.

9. Shaun Phillips, San Diego Chargers

Phillips is awfully close to surpassing Merriman as San Diego’s best outside linebacker, and perhaps their best defensive player.

10. Manny Lawson, San Francisco 49ers

Lawson has been an overall solid player for a team without a ton of them.  He committed zero penalties in 2009.

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4 Responses to NFL’s 10 Best 3-4 Outside Linebackers: Do Ware, Spencer Top the List?

  1. johncoleman says:

    Looks good to me. I really agree with Merriman. He has been a ninfactor since being caught.

  2. johncoleman says:

    Oops! That’s nonfactor.

  3. Thanks John. Sorting out the OLBs was much easier than, say, the guards or centers.

  4. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys 2009 Defensive Player Efficiency Comparisons | Dallas Cowboys Times

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