The position is relatively new in the history of the NFL, but the edge rusher in a 3-4 defense can impact the game like no other player can on the field if they are dominant. This article will rank the top five outside linebackers of all time.
5. Kevin Greene
Kevin Greene used great technique over athleticism to dominate tackle during his career and was twice voted as a first team all pro and twice led the league in sacks. He totaled 160.0 career sacks which ranks third all time.
Greene twice finished top 10 in defensive player of the year voting and once was runner up in 1996. Greene added five pro bowl selections during his career and played in Super Bowl XXX with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
4. Andre Tippett
If it wasn’t for Lawrence Taylor, Andre Tippett might be credited with creating this position. Tippet was twice voted a first team all pro and earned five consecutive pro bowl selections. He totaled 100.0 career sacks as well with three double digit sack seasons.
Tippett was blazing fast off of the edge and used his athleticism to dominate tackles, and was great at stopping the run going the other way. He doesn’t have the longevity of others that are ranked higher, which is why he ranks 4th all time.
3. Von Miller
Von Miller was selected as a first team all pro three times during his career and twice finished runner up in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Miller was also a second team all pro four other times during his career and totaled 123.5 career sacks, and had seven double-digit seasons.
Miller has won two Super Bowls and was Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl 50, where he dominated the Carolina Panthers offensive line like no performance in NFL history. That entire playoff run was what cemented his legacy as one of the greatest outside linebackers of all time.
2. Derrick Thomas
Derrick Thomas totaled 126.5 career sacks during his career and once had a 20 sacks season. Thomas also holds the record for most sacks in a game with seven. Thomas was an absolute freak coming off of the edge with a bend that no one else has ever had.
Thomas was twice voted as a first team all pro and led the league in sacks once, and forced fumbles twice. Thomas’s career was tragically cut short due to a car accident, but his dominance was still felt in his short career.
1. Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor is the greatest defensive football player of all time, so he easily ranks number one on this list. Taylor changed the game like no other player on the defensive side of the ball ever has.
Taylor was an eight time first team all pro, three time defensive player of the year, and won NFL MVP in 1986, being the only linebacker to ever do so. Taylor also had seven consecutive double digit sack seasons with one 20.0 sack season.
Taylor totaled 132.5 career sacks which rank tied for 14th all time. Taylor also helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls during his career.
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