Tuggle When I rank the best linebackers in the NFL, I'm looking for field vision, closing speed, stats, and great hands.

No. 5 Jessie Tuggle: I bet fans will ask who is this guy? This linebacker was only 5'11", 232 pounds, but played on some very average to below average Atlanta Falcons teams for all 15 seasons in his NFL career.

Jessie Tuggle was probably the second hardest-hitting linebacker to Lawrence Taylor. Jessie Tuggle was nicknamed "The Hammer" for his heavy hits, plus he had 1,809 career tackles in the NFL.

Even LT didn't have as many tackles in his career as Tuggle. Tuggle went on to play in one Super Bowl, earn five Pro Bowls, and become an All-Pro three times. Tuggle had a lot of agility because he had six INTs. The biggest factor is the eye test.

No. 4 Mike Singletary: This linebacker was named part of the 1980s All-Decade team. Michael Singletary had the best field vision and awarness that I've seen in NFL history.

He could cover the field from sideline to sideline like no other. With almost 1,500 tackles and seven INTs, Singletary was the meaning of captain for the Chicago Bears. He and the Bears won Super Bowl XX and Singletary earned NFL Defensive Player Of The Year in 1985. If there was one word for Mike Singletary, it would be focus.

No. 3 Ray Lewis: Lewis always stood out from the rest by holding the record for 13 Pro Bowls. Besides having over 2,000 tackles in his career, Lewis showed his great eye and hand coordination with 31 INTs at the linebacker position.

Ray Lewis would win two rings and earn MVP of Super Bowl XXXV with a record-setting NFL defense in fewest points allowed. Out of all these linebackers, Lewis was the best at covering running backs, tight ends, and anyone who came his way. I say Lewis is the 2nd most intimidating linebacker in NFL history.

No. 2 Derrick Brooks: In 14 seasons, Derrick Brooks was able to accumulate over 1,700 tackles, 25 INTs, and six touchdowns. Brooks' stats are easily comparable to Taylor's or Ray Lewis' numbers. Brooks was voted to 11 Pro Bowls, nine All-Pro Teams, and the 2000 All-Decade Team in 14 seasons of play.

The eye test was the best way to vote Brooks in at No. 2 because of his speed and agility. He broke the record for the most turnovers for touchdowns as a linebacker with two fumbles and three INTs for TDs. The season of 2002, when Brooks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII, was probably the best single season for a linebacker.

No. 1 Lawrence Taylor: The first thing I think of when it comes to Taylor, is that hit on Joe Theismann by Taylor which caused a compound fracture in Theismann's right leg. That will be one of the most gruesome sights on Monday Night Football.

Lawrence Taylor won three Defensive Player Of The Year Awards, two Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXI & XXV), and NFL MVP in 1986. Taylor was named to the 1980s All-Decade Team. My biggest reason for ranking him No. 1 is the fact that Taylor had 132.5 sacks, plus nine interceptions that showed he was multi-talented at the position.

John Madden once said of Lawrence Taylor: "Taylor, defensively, has had as big of an impact as any player I've ever seen. He changed the way defense is played, the way pass-rushing is played, the way linebackers play and the way offenses block linebackers."


Sweetheart's Stuff 

The best part of your article is the first part. Jessie Tuggle, "The Hammer"... Please Hammer don't hurt em'. The rest sounds like a broken record. However, I'm surprised you wrote about the NFL being you love your college football so much.

You always say NFL fans aren't as passionate as college fans. You've also stated how NFL fans are lazy, jersey wearing, couch sitting, junk food eating, old fat guys who don't really understand the game like you do. So I'm just a little confused why you even take the time to write about the NFL. Are all college football fans this bipolar?

Let's Move On,