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Bronco Rob
05-25-2009, 07:18 AM
Outside linebacker rankings: Ware leads the 3-4 sack pack


With the 3-4 defense becoming all the rage, the outside linebacker is a prime-time player. The ability to rush the passer is an integral part of the job description, but these players also must be able to cover tight ends in the passing game and find the ball and wrap up ballcarriers in the run game.

RealScouts, Sporting News' team of former NFL scouts, rank their top 20 outside linebackers for 2009:


1. DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys. The NFL leader in sacks last season, he made a serious run at Michael Strahan's season record of 22 1/2. Ware is a dominant pass rusher who exhibits remarkable speed and strength.


2. James Harrison, Steelers. Harrison is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year after recording 16 sacks and a league-high seven forced fumbles. He's 31 and got a big new contract this offseason, but Harrison plays with a chip on his shoulder and won't rest on his laurels.


3. Shawne Merriman, Chargers. Merriman is one of the league's most dominant defensive players. He wants to prove himself this season after coming off a knee injury and entering his contract year. Coordinator Ron Rivera calls an aggressive game, and Merriman should benefit.


4. Terrell Suggs, Ravens. A franchise player for the second straight year, Suggs is the motor that makes the Baltimore defense go. He has stellar physical tools, can align almost anywhere in the front seven and showed tremendous toughness last year playing through a separated shoulder in the playoffs.


5. Joey Porter, Dolphins. In a big comeback season, Porter had a career-high 17 1/2 sacks and made the Pro Bowl. That number will likely go down with the signing of Jason Taylor, who will steal some snaps. In the end, that will be a good thing because Porter, 32, will stay fresh and have a better chance of getting through the season.


6. Adalius Thomas, Patriots. With the departure of Mike Vrabel, it would make sense for New England to let Thomas loose as a pass rusher off the edge. He is a versatile player who can play just about anywhere in the Patriots' 3-4.


7. Lance Briggs, Bears. Briggs has the quickness and instincts to make plays all over the field. He diagnoses plays quickly, is a sure tackler and has a nose for the ball. He's a stellar pass rusher and is one of the league's top cover linebackers.


8. Keith Bulluck, Titans. He's a fantastic run defender who is a sure tackler and one of the most underrated players in the league. He's another team guy who doesn't care about his stats and does everything you can ask of a linebacker.


9. Julian Peterson, Lions. Peterson had a quiet season on a bad team in Seattle last year. This year, he will benefit from playing for Jim Schwartz and getting a chance to rush the passer more.


10. LaMarr Woodley, Steelers. Woodley is the other half of the Steelers' deadly pass-rush combo. Very quick and athletic, he can do a lot of good things, but he's at his best rushing the quarterback.


11. Aaron Kampman, Packers. Kampman is a natural pass rusher who is an excellent athlete and can handle all the responsibilities that will come with playing as a stand-up defender in the Packers' new 3-4. He'll still be a pass-rush force.


12. Mike Vrabel, Chiefs. Vrabel is getting up in years and coming off a subpar season, but he will have an important leadership role in the Chiefs' transition to a 3-4 scheme. Coordinator Clancy Pendergast likes to play the matchup game and mix looks, and Vrabel can play just about anywhere, even on offense.


13. Greg Ellis, Cowboys. The Cowboys have been trying to replace Ellis, but he totaled 20 1/2 sacks the past two seasons and has maintained a high level of play. He's not the run defender he once was, but he can still get after the passer.


14. Shaun Phillips, Chargers. Phillips had a chance to stand out in 2008 after the season-ending injury to Merriman, but he didn't fully capitalize. He had eight sacks but should get more this year with Merriman back and commanding attention from blocking schemes.


15. Leroy Hill, Seahawks. Though middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and first-round pick Aaron Curry will be the "playmakers," Hill is a very instinctive player who has the athleticism and versatility to make plays all over the field. Improvements along the line should help him as well.


16. Michael Boley, Giants. Boley steps into a good situation in New York. He can be an explosive edge player and has the speed and range to play sideline to sideline. With a strong line in front of him, Boley will be free to run to the ball, which is what he does best.


17. Parys Haralson, 49ers. Haralson stepped into a starting role under Mike Singletary last year. He's a hard-working player who shows a knack for getting to the quarterback. Look for him to remain on the weak side and post 10-plus sacks if he gets the opportunity to start all season.


18. Calvin Pace, Jets. The Jets' defense will be much more aggressive under Rex Ryan, and that will benefit Pace, who will have a Suggs-type role in the new scheme. He's a playmaker and has the versatility to move around the formation. He'll be a key piece in the matchup game, and his numbers will improve as a result.


19. Angelo Crowell, Buccaneers. Look for a bounce-back year for Crowell, who missed all of 2008 with a knee injury. He's a versatile tackling machine who can play either outside spot. He should get a chance to make plays in the passing game in the Bucs' cover 2 scheme.


20. Chad Greenway, Vikings. Greenway is a smart player with great range who can play in coverage and get after the quarterback. That makes him a great fit for the strongside linebacker role in the Viking's scheme. Playing behind an aggressive front helps him.


http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=551771

HILife
05-25-2009, 07:42 AM
What, no Broncos!?!?!?!

400HZ
05-25-2009, 07:50 AM
I would expect a list like this from WPI. Seeing how crappy it is and how it's stupid on so many levels makes me want to cancel my SN subscribtion to ensure that none of this dumbassery rubs off on me.

elsid13
05-25-2009, 07:56 AM
I was surprised that FO didn't target Angelo Crowell in free agency. He has strong experience in 3/4 and would be cheap pick up.

Rulon Velvet Jones
05-25-2009, 08:01 AM
These rankings have been atrocious since they began.

peacepipe
05-25-2009, 08:46 AM
What Broncos OLB was deserving of being on that list?

400HZ
05-25-2009, 09:37 AM
What Broncos OLB was deserving of being on that list?

I think I read somewhere that DJ Williams was an All-Pro caliber player.

bpc
05-25-2009, 09:37 AM
Ware is very good but Harrison has been a difference maker. I would easily put him #1.

azbroncfan
05-25-2009, 09:47 AM
I think I read somewhere that DJ Williams was an All-Pro caliber player.

Only to a select few in Denver and a couple of DJ homers. ;)

SoCalBronco
05-25-2009, 11:28 AM
I think I read somewhere that DJ Williams was an All-Pro caliber player.

By its own language, this list is confined to 3-4 OLB's.

DBroncos4life
05-25-2009, 11:29 AM
By its own language, this list is confined to 3-4 OLB's.

Reading is hard

azbroncfan
05-25-2009, 11:40 AM
By its own language, this list is confined to 3-4 OLB's.

But there are several 4-3 OLB in the list.

SoCalBronco
05-25-2009, 11:59 AM
But there are several 4-3 OLB in the list.

That's right, because the list is Top 20 OLBs for 2009. They know he isn't playing OLB in 2009. I could show you several lists that place him in the Top 10 4-3 OLBs in the league, (and in fact, he was on Dr. Z's midseason All Pro team last year) but since it wouldn't change your mind, I'm not going to put forth the effort.

400HZ
05-25-2009, 03:03 PM
By its own language, this list is confined to 3-4 OLB's.

I see seven 4-3 OLB's. And obviously it is stupid to rank them against 3-4 players since their responsibilities and ideal skill sets are not even remotely close to one another. Same with DE's.

Florida_Bronco
05-25-2009, 05:45 PM
That's right, because the list is Top 20 OLBs for 2009. They know he isn't playing OLB in 2009. I could show you several lists that place him in the Top 10 4-3 OLBs in the league, (and in fact, he was on Dr. Z's midseason All Pro team last year) but since it wouldn't change your mind, I'm not going to put forth the effort.

Yeah, why bother. According to some idiots around here, Wesley Woodyard was playing better than DJ.

JJJ
05-25-2009, 10:19 PM
Hey, where is Jyles Tucker?

azbroncfan
05-26-2009, 12:04 AM
Yeah, why bother. According to some idiots around here, Wesley Woodyard was playing better than DJ.

and some idiots think DJ is all pro just because where he was drafted.

azbroncfan
05-26-2009, 12:10 AM
That's right, because the list is Top 20 OLBs for 2009. They know he isn't playing OLB in 2009. I could show you several lists that place him in the Top 10 4-3 OLBs in the league, (and in fact, he was on Dr. Z's midseason All Pro team last year) but since it wouldn't change your mind, I'm not going to put forth the effort.

Your the one who claimed it was a 3-4 list when there were quite a few 4-3 LB's listed. Just pointing out your backtracking. I could care less as DJ is a very average LB.

watermock
05-26-2009, 01:20 AM
Yeah, why bother. According to some idiots around here, Wesley Woodyard was playing better than DJ.

Actually, he was. D.J. was injured tho.

footstepsfrom#27
05-26-2009, 01:24 AM
No Daryl Reid? ???

watermock
05-26-2009, 01:28 AM
Doom and Moss will make a mockery of this list in '09.

Florida_Bronco
05-26-2009, 05:58 AM
and some idiots think DJ is all pro just because where he was drafted.

No, we think DJ is an All-Pro because that's what he was last year. He made the midseason All-Pro lists and would have been a pro-bowler had he not got injured.

Florida_Bronco
05-26-2009, 05:59 AM
Actually, he was. D.J. was injured tho.

Well yes, that's true if you're referring to the last San Diego game. DJ was rushed back from that injury though, and shouldn't have even been on the field that night.

azbroncfan
05-26-2009, 09:51 AM
No, we think DJ is an All-Pro because that's what he was last year. He made the midseason All-Pro lists and would have been a pro-bowler had he not got injured.

The standard Florida Bronco defense for DJ and his average career up to this point.

400HZ
05-26-2009, 10:08 AM
No, we think DJ is an All-Pro because that's what he was last year.

Hahahahahaha

Florida_Bronco
05-26-2009, 12:10 PM
The standard Florida Bronco defense for DJ and his average career up to this point.

No need to defend DJ. His play has been top notch everytime he's been at his natural position.

Then again, weren't you one of the idiots who thought Woodyard was better?

azbroncfan
05-26-2009, 10:16 PM
No need to defend DJ. His play has been top notch everytime he's been at his natural position.

Then again, weren't you one of the idiots who thought Woodyard was better?

Never said WW was better I just have always thought DJ has been overhyped and overvalued. I do agree he played better at WLB but hasn't proven to be a difference maker and is just an above average LB. Nothing more or nothing less.

DBroncos4life
05-26-2009, 10:45 PM
DJ is young (26) I want to see what he can he can bring in the 3-4. He has all the speed and talent in the world to be good he just needs to but it all together.