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1. Fred Warner
Fred Warner remains the cornerstone of the San Francisco 49ers’ defense, and his versatility and football IQ continue to impress. As a force against the run and in coverage, Warner’s presence has a significant impact on the field.
Demario Davis, a standout for the New Orleans Saints, showcases tenacity and leadership as the heart of their defense. His consistent high-level play and impact on the field make him a force to be reckoned with. The veteran has been a consistent leader on their defense and just earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season.
3. Roquan Smith
Roquan Smith‘s lightning-quick speed and coverage skills have made him an integral part of the Ravens’ defense. His ability to read plays and make game-changing tackles has been a game-changer. After his move to Baltimore, he got better and anchored their defense.
Lavonte David remains a model of consistency, continuing to be the heart of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. His ability to read plays and make critical tackles is crucial to the team’s success.
5. Bobby Wagner
After a brief stint with the Rams, Bobby Wagner returns to the Seattle Seahawks with career numbers and remains one of the league’s premier tackling machines. His leadership and experience make him a vital asset to the team.
6. Matt Milano
Matt Milano‘s stellar year following his new contract with the Buffalo Bills solidifies his spot among the top linebackers in the league. His coverage skills and open-field tackles are unmatched.
Dubbed “The Maniac,” Shaquille Leonard‘s combination of size, speed, and athleticism has made him a star on the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. He continues to thrive as a key component of their success. His ability to create turnovers and impact the game is unlike any other linebacker on this list, his problem lately has been staying healthy.
Tremaine Edmunds made the move to the Chicago Bears, and his imposing size and instincts will be disruptive for opposing offenses. As a leader on the field, he is expected to make a significant impact.
9. Nick Bolton
With a Super Bowl ring under his belt, Nick Bolton has become a crucial part of the Kansas City Chiefs defense. His impressive tackling ability and football IQ are highly valued by the team, making him one of the league’s young stars in the position.
10. Eric Kendricks
Although Eric Kendricks isn’t what he used to be, the Chargers aren’t getting some washed-up veteran. He should still be a veteran presence on a team that could use some help in the middle after Drue Tranquil left.